Food from China

The safety of foods, medicines, and other products from China is the subject of a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which also discusses congressional criticisms of China's food safety system and U.S. safeguards of food imports. According to the report, when the values of food, agricultural, and seafood products are combined, China is the third largest supplier to the U.S. after Canada and Mexico.

The two primary federal agencies responsible for food safety are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). On June 28, 2007, in what CRS calls "perhaps the most significant move to date," the FDA issued Import Alert #16-131, ordering "Detention Without Physical Examination" of five aquaculture products from China: catfish, basa (related to catfish), shrimp, dace (related to carp), and eel. The FDA has also provided a Q&A on the import alert.

The report notes the various bills that have been introduced in Congress concerning China imports and U.S. food safety measures, as well as for quicker implementation of country-of-origin labeling (COOL).

Food and Agricultural Imports from China, CRS Report RL34080 (pdf, 18pp/132kB, from Open CRS), July 17, 2007

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