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What is Coming Across Our Borders?
From the Center for Science in the Public Interest, http://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/house_import_testimony.pdf
“It is currently estimated that FDA only inspects 1% of food at the U.S. border, so it is frankly surprising that catastrophes like the recent pet food contamination haven’t happened more often. Although imports of FDA-regulated foods have more than doubled in the last 7 years—from 4 million shipments in 2000 to approximately 9 million shipments in 2006—the rate of inspections has remained woefully low. Of these 9 million shipments, only 0.2% were analyzed in a laboratory as part of their inspection process.
Although products enter the U.S. through 361 ports, at the peak of its funding, FDA had inspectors on-site at only 90 of these ports. Today the agency likely covers half that number. To increase inspections of FDA-regulated imports to 10% (still a strikingly low figure) would require an additional 1600 full-time inspectors. To double that figure to 20% import inspection would require 3200 full-time inspectors and $540 million, according to FDA estimates given to the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee in 2001.”
From the New York Times, Food Imports Often Escape Scrutiny, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/business/01food.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1241121550-yopnZDFxg4BLqq9CLRy2VA#
“Last year, inspectors sampled just 20,662 shipments out of more than 8.9 million that arrived at American ports. China, which in one decade has become the third-largest exporter of food, by value, to the United States, sent 199,000 shipments, of which less than 2 percent were sampled, former officials with the agency said.”
From the Agricultural Marketing and Resource Center, http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/vegetables/garlic_profile.cfm
"Today, China is the dominant source of imported garlic in the United States despite the imposition of a 377 percent duty against fresh Chinese garlic imports imposed in 1994. Prior to imposition of the anti-dumping duties China was a major exporter of garlic to the United States. In 1994, the Fresh Garlic Producers Association filed an anti-dumping petition claiming the price of Chinese garlic was less than the cost of production in China and was harming the U.S. industry.
The tariff succeeded in decreasing Chinese imports of fresh garlic for several years, allowing Mexico to redeem some of China’s former share of U.S. imports of fresh garlic. However, garlic imports from China have increased by over 250 percent between 2001 and 2004, while Mexican imports have declined since 2001.
The increase in Chinese imports is said to be due to a loophole in the legislation involving the way imports of fresh garlic from new shippers, who were not involved in the anti-dumping order, are handled. While additional legislation may close this dumping loophole, thereby decreasing imports of fresh Chinese garlic in the short run, issues of circumvention and market definitions could persist. Chinese exporters may effectively circumvent the 1994 order by shipping “like products” or using third countries to ship through. An additional concern includes increased exports of dehydrated and processed product, which is not covered under the 1994 order (United States International Trade Commission, Arizona State University)."
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