Food Security – Inspections on Imports, Part 2

Rachel Martin on Food Security – Inspections on Imports, Part 2

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

 

This is the final segment of a two-part series with national chairman of Homeland Security for the National Federation of Republican Women, Rachel Martin on food security  – Inspections on imports into the United States.

Due to budget cuts, as reported in Part 1, the Department of Homeland Security inspects only 1 in every 60 containers arriving in the U.S. This ratio brings up two issues, according to Martin: (1) the threat of terrorism and (2) concern over food safety. Failure to properly inspect imported containers exposes American citizens to toxins in imported goods that don’t meet the same regulatory standards as food products produced in the United States.

“When you’re doing things en masse,” Martin said, “and the [containers with imported food] are not being inspected, many dangers can come into the country that can kill people—especially the elderly and kids because we know they are more susceptible to bacteria and chemical toxins.”

While she is aware of the potential for accidents and mistakes in food safety, Martin said risking the safety of our country and citizens by inspecting only a limited number of imported containers to save money is more harmful than helpful. “Accidents are going to happen with any food,” Martin said, “even with when I cook for myself in my own kitchen. I may undercook my meal, and there is a possibility I can get food poisoning that way.”

Martin said the Obama administration’s budget cuts have hurt Homeland Security’s inspection rate on food imports. “Number one, it’s not right, there are so many regulations here that we have to deal with,” Martin said. “And number two, it’s wrong that these containers are not inspected because people can become very ill and be killed by food toxins that come into the country in the absence of inspection. ‘Not to mention, the terrorists, bombs, weapons and anything else that is dangerous that could be on those containers.”

 

Import Food Safety, Part 1

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.”

Super PAC Needed to Save Forests, Wildlife, Ag, Part 1

Rachel Martin on Need for Super PAC to Save Forests, Wildlife, Ag

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

Part 1:

This is part one of a three-part series with Rachel Martin, the national chairperson of Homeland Security for the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), on the importance of creating a political action committee (super PAC) to save forests, wildlife, and ag suffering from limited water allocations during this extensive drought.

Martin said a super PAC must be created to combat the environmentalists who have been lobbying in Washington and Sacramento for years and to improve conditions for all constituencies. The resulting environmental regulations have prevented forest maintenance, such as logging, thinning of the forests, and controlled burns, which has increased the likelihood and severity of wildfires that burn thousands of acres each year and kill the animals environmentalists are trying to protect.

“I’ve been working with public safety as well as a lot of animal activists since ’99,” Martin said, “and I know that with ag, it’s been a fight for the last 30-plus years with the environmentalists and the Environmental Protection Act. Ag alone is not the only affected group of agencies or businesses. People don’t often think about how the lack of water significantly affects California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the U.S. Forest Service, and law enforcement agencies as well. We need to come together.”

“Law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Forest Service have told me the environmentalists are actually hurting and killing a lot of the creatures they stand to protect,” Martin said. “Other animals die during those fires, and they’re dying the most horrible deaths—which is death by fire.”