Improving the International Food Safety Inspection Process

In a complex global supply chain, the task of keeping unsafe product from reaching customers and food producers in the United States is a daunting and seemingly impossible task. The FDA has recently released their new food safety inspection process strategy for keeping unsafe product from reaching our shores.

food safety inspection process
Image credit: FDA photo by Michael J. Ermarth

Global Strategy To Improve Food Safety Inspection Process For Imported Product

With a new strategy in mind, the FDA has outlined four goals for the future of foreign food inspection:

  • Coordinating with foreign food safety inspectors
  • Detecting and refusing tainted goods before entry into the U.S.
  • Develop targeted sampling and testing of high-risk product
  • Develop and improve a global inventory of farms and food producers

Coordinating with other countries comparable food safety inspection process will provide an extra layer of protection before food leaves the country or origin. These local inspectors will be able to do a more thorough inspection, and their knowledge of food producers goes a long way to preventing tainted product from leaving their country in the first place. The FDA currently works with food safety inspectors in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Negotiations are underway with officials in the European Union.

The FDA’s plan to upgrade the screening process upon entry will do a better job of identifying product that could be contaminated. This process will involve new foreign supplier verification, accredited third party audits and several other updated and more efficient systems. Along with this process will be the collection of data to target suppliers of high-risk products such as soft cheeses and seafood.

The final step in the updated food safety inspection process will involve an inventory or database of overseas producers that ship their product to the United States. This will identify producers who have previously shipped tainted product, isolate high-risk farming regions and provide food safety inspectors with more information than they’ve had in the past.

We like to see our national food safety inspection process evaluated and updated to provide safer product. Do you feel this new FDA strategy will keep product imported from foreign countries safer?

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