FDA’s Loophole In Testing Of Imported Food

With all of the numerous recalls on human food, pet food, and other products, one would think that the FDA would not permit any loopholes to allow contaminated products into our food supply. But, five lab operators told USA Today that this is not true.

At Anresco Labs and other labs that test imported food, five lab operators said the FDA gets the favorable test results, but the negative test results are not sent to the FDA if importers tell the labs not to send them. At least 10% of the time, the lab finds contaminated shipments.

There is no regulation that requires labs to send all of their tests to the FDA. In 2004, the FDA proposed that they should get all of the results, both good and bad, but three years later, nothing has changed and no one has brought up the proposal again, and the FDA is still in the dark of the failed lab results.

David Eisenberg, chairman of Anresco Labs, said the FDA should have access to all of the lab results because this could put the public at risk and also forces lab to not say anything because they need to keep their clients. He said the current system protects the importer instead of the public.

One lab said they have even been threatened by lawsuits to not submit failed results to the FDA.

Since the FDA will reject food that has failed test results, some importers who get the negative results from one lab will hire another lab to test the food and get a passing result and give that to the FDA. From there, most likely, the FDA would approve the food to be sold in the US.

David Nelson, senior investigator for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, testified during a food safety hearing, “We’ve heard that there are labs that don’t find products … ever to be out of compliance. And we’ve found labs that don’t report all test results.”

The FDA said they don’t have any evidence that importers are sneaking in contaminated food by not releasing failed results or going to another lab to get positive results.

David Acheson, FDA’s assistant commissioner of food safety, said by mid-2008, the FDA will have standards for imported food testing by labs and that labs will be accredited by an outside body.

One former FDA attorney who now works with companies on import regulations said, “The FDA hasn’t done the hard work of establishing standards. The lack of standards promotes an impression that (the labs) are out of control. But it’s not the labs’ fault. It’s really the FDA’s fault.”

Source: USA Today

(Thanks menusux)

28 Responses to “FDA’s Loophole In Testing Of Imported Food”

  1. Carol says:

    One former FDA attorney who now works with companies on import regulations said, “The FDA hasn’t done the hard work of establishing standards. The lack of standards promotes an impression that (the labs) are out of control. But it’s not the labs’ fault. It’s really the FDA’s fault.”

    Somehow I am not really very surprised!!!!!!!

  2. Sharon says:

    I hate the Bush administration. They have sold us out. We will all be dead by the time they are done making money off of us. I hope they all rot in hell.

  3. Pet » FDA’s Loophole In Testing Of Imported Food says:

    […] Emily Huh wrote an interesting post today on FDA’s Loophole In Testing Of Imported FoodHere’s a quick excerptWith all of the numerous recalls on human food, pet food, and other products, one would think that the FDA would not permit any loopholes to allow contaminated products into our food supply. But, five lab operators told USA Today that … […]

  4. Purringfur says:

    What a sham! Just send us all the poisoned food & products you can because our arms are open!

    Did you hear about the California AG who is starting a lawsuit against 20 toy makers for the lead-loaded toys? $2500 fine per day per toy sold… was just on CNN & just caught a sentence or two… Way to go, California!!! Kudos! Now, if the rest of the states would follow…

    I wonder if the toy/product recalls will be next to non-existent once Thanksgiving arrives?

    A CNN trailer last night showed poll results concerning the product recalls and how people would adjust their spending this holiday season. Majority would spend less. Majority would look for country of manufacture before purchasing. Majority (65%?) believe “Made in China” toys are unsafe, 27% believed “Made in China” toys were safe. (Figures could be wrong — can someone verify?)

    No, holiday sales will not be down due to alleged terrorist threats on malls or the high prices of gas… The real terror is IN the toys, products, foods we buy when we learn weeks, months or years later that the products are harmful.

    Can someone tell me what DO we manufacture in the U.S.? If 80% of our toys come from China, nearly all electronics and technology come from China, over 60% of our lumber is imported, much of our food is either grown or processed overseas… just what DO we do here?

  5. Pukanuba says:

    I’ll tell you what we do……..we accept all the contaminated & unsafe products from all over the world. That’s what we do. And the taxpayers of this country pay for absolute useless testing…….why bother if they only pass on positive results? This just makes me sick or maybe I should say sicker. The more I learn, I more I realize what a joke we are to other countries. The dumping ground for all the contaminated food, toys, pills…..wait til people start dropping dead from unsafe meds……that’s next.

    You don’t think the terrorists out there who hate us are taking note of this? Hello Homeland Security……are you awake or what?

    Our whole system is screwed…….until the labs pass on ALL results to the joke called the FDA, I’d say give the taxpayers our money back…….it’s a total waste & trust me, we can all use a little extra money these days. Those of us home cooking can relate to that. Actually, we’re all buying or cooking “the good stuff” because we no longer trust the big businesses to make food for our babies. Hopefully, they are hurting big time which makes it all worthwhile.

    Afraid it’s head banging time again…….

  6. Phyllis Entis says:

    It’s not only the FDA. At least one convenience store chain has a policy requiring its sandwich suppliers to test for Listeria monocytogenes. The individual suppliers foot the bill for testing and, therefore, control whether or not the test results are sent to the company. What ends up happening is that “unsatisfactory” results don’t get reported; the supplier simply prepares another batch of sandwiches instead and remains in good standing with their customer. If the consumer is lucky and the supplier will clean up before preparing that new batch.

  7. Cathy says:

    It definitely is head banging time. Last Sunday, the local paper showed the top ten toys for Christmas this year. Guess what was listed!!!!????….. AquaDots!!!! The FDA is useless, the big corporations are greedy and the media are just idiots.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sharon says:

    November 20th, 2007 at 8:30 am
    I hate the Bush administration. They have sold us out. We will all be dead by the time they are done making money off of us.

    You got that right Sharon. With just one more year, get ready for the real damage.

  9. Dennis says:

    I get so tired of all the Bush bashing, the purpose of which is to try to win an election. Excuse me, but a lot of the cronies in these administrations were appointed by Clinton and they were left in office. The point here is simple - we have a non-partisan issue that should remain non-partisan. If we politicize this taint and recall issue, we will get absolutely nothing done no matter which party is in control in 2008 because the politics of it will interfere with progress. I believe both parties are bought off by lobbyists, both have done a poor job of protecting the public and our pets instead they protect the corporations with loopholes in their laws and lax enforcement.

  10. Velvet's Dad says:

    Dennis, you are both right and wrong. Both parties are controlled by corporate lobbyists. However, Bush has been in office almost seven years now and has done nothing about anything. Other than waste billions per day on a phony Iraq war and phony war on terrorism. In a March 2002 news conference, Bush said when asked about Bin Laden, “I don’t know where he is and I really don’t spent much time thinking about him.” Of course not, his family and Bin Laden’s have ties that are too close.

    What we need to do is get after these politicians of both parties who are doing nothing for the public good. Get rid of them by denying them money and votes.

  11. Poodlluver says:

    Strange to me how SO MANY people were in favor OF the war right after 911
    But NOW, its all Bush’s fault…..

  12. Get Over It says:

    If you want to bash the Bush administration keep it out of here. You people need to stop whining and do something about the issues you complain about tirelessly. I get on here to read about pet news. If I wanted political banter, I’d read CNN.

  13. Guthrie says:

    Remember Osama bin Laden, remember Al Qaeda, remember Afghanistan? That is what 9/11 was about. Iraq has nothing to do with it. This is not a political blog, but if you want to make it one, get your facts straight. Afghanistan has less troops present than Korea.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I dont believe anyone is bashing Bush. We are simply saying that the products we receive from other countries are NOT safe. The FDA or the current administration is NOT doing anything about it. With what has happened with China alone they continue to allow more countries to send us more of “what”? Our food supply is not safe! You may also note the number of American jobs that were lost with China alone.

    Now we have Peru, Colombia, and Panama to worry about.

    This comes from Mr. Bush himself:

    Opening up foreign markets for America’s goods and services has been a high priority for my administration. In January 2001, America had free trade agreements in force with just three countries. Now we have agreements in force with 14 countries.

    Congress now has an opportunity to build on the success by passing new free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, and Panama.

    We’ll help those whose — lost a job because of trade.

    we will work closely with Congress to pass a landmark free trade agreement with South Korea.

    In Havana, the long rule of a cruel dictator is nearing an end. As Cuba enters a period of transition, nations throughout the hemisphere and the world must insist on free speech, free assembly; they must insist that the prisoner in Cuba be free.

    Costly Trade With China
    Millions of U.S. jobs displaced with net job loss in every state

  15. CGP says:

    Just once I’d like to see a politician step up and admit mistakes. The FDA has become something of a joke; and only now, after consumers are fed up with the junk we’re buying and eating, is this problem being addressed.

    I believe this is a corporate centered administration. I say that not as a political statement, but as a fact. I’d say this about any administration with the same record of performance for consumer safety. This is a problem that affects everyone and should have priority. Government should be protecting us and not the companies that are sacrificing our safety for profits.

  16. 2CatMom says:

    I think we should all adopt the ‘only report the good results’ strategy.

    Just think everyone could say “MY child is a straight A student.” We could all say “I’m a perfect driver, I’ve never had a ticket.”

    We could get rid of all of the jails because everyone would have a queakly clean record.

    And the folks at the FDA can be our next astronauts because their methods are from outer space.

  17. Poodlluver says:

    Struck a nerve huh Guthrie? Guess you must be one of the ones that I was talkin bout…. ;) Have a nice day.

  18. JJ says:

    Unsafe food is linked to trade pacts
    Watchdog - Public Citizen’s report urges Congress to rewrite four deals that it says expose Americans to more risk


  19. JJ says:

    Regarding the FDA & Food Safety.


  20. Dennis says:

    I keep trying… this isn’t a political forum…and politicizing the taint and recall general issue only serves to divide us and to help the corporate greedsters. And when I see divisive posts I have to wonder who employs those who post and how they benefit by their posts. Are they FDA employees? How about pet food industry employees? Or is this simply political to get the next President and some of Congress elected and doing it in every forum the people touch? Well, hatred is contagious and it doesn’t build, it destroys.

    Blaming Bush won’t fix things and he isn’t the only cause for where we are today. And having a short memory of historical events will not fix things either. And it isn’t that I am defending Bush, I am criticizing the attacks.

    Clinton signed GATT and NAFTA trade treaties for those who forgot that.
    Clinton helped China into the WTO. And I could go on and on. The point isn’t to attack, it is a wake up call. Stop the hatred. Realize that neither party is solving these taint and recall issues, only stringing most of the public along for their own agendas.

  21. Get Over It says:

    Well stated, Dennis.

    It is draining when I get onto Itchmo to read about what is going on in the world of pets and have to get sucked back into the drama that is politics in this country.

    Thank you for shedding an unbiased light.

  22. Anonymous says:

    It all boils down to unsafe food, vitamins & toys. The FDA is not doing anything to correct it. It doesnt matter if Clinton, Bush, Ford or Washington were in office.

    We need someone to fix it PEROID! NO ONE IS!!!!

    Most of the frustration with people is the FDA & government hasnt attempted to fix it. I dont care WHO fixes it. JUST FIX IT!

  23. Katie says:

    I come here everyday. Just when I think I have heard it all; I read about the lying importers, labs who will give false results to keep clients, an FDA that doesn’t accept responsibility, etc.
    Not to mention politics, but big business runs the government, does anyone remember the feelings torwards “Big Blue” in the 60’s. Our country is run by lobbyists. We open our arms to the rest of the worlds junk.

    However, I do think the tide is turning some. At the local natural organic market today the special was organic turkey 2.99/lb. This area is a working class area and that’s a lot of money! the grocery stores have been adv. turkey for .49/lb. Surprise! the organic store couldn’t supply the demand. The manager told me requests for organic turkeys and home grown vegtables are up 110% Perhaps we Americans are interested where our food comes from that we are placing on the dinner table Thursday.

    The petfood recalls, dying and sick animals, the truth about store brands and name brands, lead, filthy fish, etc. sounds like Americans maybe wanting a change.


  24. JJ says:

    Very well said Katie!!

  25. Jenny Bark says:

    Katie, I agree with JJ, very well said. I also think you are right things are changing. I am praying that people have an old fashion Christmas & only buy what “little” they can find made in USA & EU or nothing. I think IF people don’t buy & everybody worring about elections (no matter who you are for) will send a big message to all that people are worried, mad & scared & that they had better start working for the people. We can dream anyhow, right?

    I also have to add, imo the FDA & lobbyists have always known what they are doing, the big question is who is going to win in the end, them or the people.

  26. Anonymous says:

    OT: Avicides+ grain





    Anyone testing for these?

  27. Lawmakers Propose To Require Stricter Oversight Over Labs Testing Imported Food | Itchmo: News For Dogs & Cats says:

    […] or subscribe in a RSS reader.Private labs and former FDA employees have admitted that there are loopholes in the testing of imported food. There is no regulation that requires private labs to send all of their tests, good or bad, to the […]

  28. Healthy Food » FDA’s Loophole In Testing Of Imported Food says:

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