January 22, 2018

Recalled Imported Pork Highlights Problems with TPP

Food & Water Watch has sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, stating that the recent recall of 170,000 pounds of imported pork and nine other recent recalls highlights the fact that the Trans Atlantic Trade Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements may be flawed and problematic for food safety concerns. Both of those agreements would expedite food imports into the United States from other countries.

Shipping Container ImportsThat recallĀ this month was for pork from Denmark. The meat was not presented at the U.S. point of entry for inspection as the law requires.

Food & Water Watch wrote to USDA about this problem last year, but states “the problem seems to be getting worse.” USDA claims that the Public Health Information System (PHIS) and Customs and Border Protection coordination is improving, but there have been nine recalls in the last 11 months for products that were not inspected at the border.

The letter also states that these public recalls “do not include the many instances of ‘failure-to-present’ that have been caught by FSIS inspection personnel of Canadian meat and poultry imports.” In addition, some of these uninspected products were distributed in the United StatesĀ and were in the marketplace for more than a year before the recalls were initiated. There were only four recalls of non inspected imported food from 2000 to 2008.

The two free trade agreements would lead to increased food exports to the United States. Food safety advocates are concerned that, since there are already so many problems with the import system now, FSIS will not be able to handle the increased volume. And there have been issues with some food safety equivalency status decisions between the United States and other countries.

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, “if we can’t seem to handle the current load of imports on our metaphorical plates, what does that say for FSIS’s ability to handle the uptick in imports that is sure to occur through these new trade deals? The TPP and the TTIP will only exacerbate the problems in an already flawed food import inspection system.”

 

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