Import Food Safety, Part 1
October 1, 2015
Import Food Safety: Only 1 in 60 Containers Is Inspected
By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor
This is the first in a two-part series with Rachel Martin, the national chairman of Homeland Security for the National Federation of Republican Women, on import food safety in the United States.
Food safety is a crucial element in the production of food, and many government regulations exist to keep our food safe for people to eat. Yet, Martin explained, those regulations don’t necessarily reach imported food. Specifically, she said, "Due to budget cuts under the Obama administration, only 1 in 60 containers arriving in the U.S. is inspected by Homeland Security."
Martin's initial reaction to this statistic was to consider the possibility that terrorists could smuggle in weapons, chemicals and themselves into the United States.
“The second thing that came to mind was food safety,” Martin said because as we grow less food domestically, we import more food. "We’re already overregulated here in California—not only in the United States, but it’s worse here—with mandated inspections, regulations on our food and regulated chemicals, spraying, pesticides and so forth. Yet when food enters the United States, the majority of it isn’t even inspected.”
Martin said her own daughter has been affected by the risks of importing food that is not inspected by or grown under strict U.S. standards set for the United States.
“My daughter’s first job was at a local water park when she was 17-years-old, slicing limes to make juice for the kids there," said Martin. "The limes were imported from Mexico. My daughter developed a rash on her arm from chemicals that were applied to the limes that looked like she had third-degree burns. It went away in a couple of months, but to this day—she’s now 23—it returns on a random basis.”