New rules proposed Friday by the Food and Drug Administration would make U.S. food importers responsible for ensuring that their suppliers are handling and processing food safely.
The proposed rules, required by a sweeping food safety law passed by Congress in 2010, are meant to establish better checks on what long has been a scattershot effort to guard against unsafe food imported from more than 150 countries. Only about 2 percent of that food is inspected by the government at ports and borders.
The guidelines would require U.S. food importers to verify that the foreign companies they are importing from are achieving the same levels of food safety required in this country. The government estimates that the rules, which also would improve audits of food facilities abroad, eventually could cost the food industry up to $472 million annually.
The idea is to make businesses more responsible for the safety of the food they are selling or importing by proving they are using good food safety practices.