U.S. and China Reach Deal to Safeguard Food Imports
China has signed agreements that promise to safeguard exports from that country including allowing American officials onsite access to Chinese factories so they may inspect food and ingredients destined for the U.S. market.
Michael Leavitt, secretary of health and human services, said that he expects Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials will someday work in China to train officials there and record inspections.
In the meantime, factories in China looking to export to the U.S. will now be required to register with the government there. The Chinese will issue certificates for registered companies stating that goods exported meet the standards set by the FDA.
In a statement, Mr. Leavitt said, “The agreements satisfy our firm principle that any country that desires to produce goods for American consumers must do so in accordance with American standards of quality and safety.”
Andrew von Eschenbach, FDA commissioner, said that officials from the agency have been allowed to inspect Chinese plants on a limited basis in the past.
“This agreement will provide an opportunity to have our people here on a continuous basis with expertise so that we can work with our Chinese colleagues in helping to develop good practices,” Dr. von Eschenbach told The New York Times.
Discussion Questions: How successful do you expect the new agreements between China and U.S. to be in assuring a safer supply of food and ingredients to the American market? How long do you think it will it take before results begin to be seen?
- China Agrees to Post U.S. Safety Officials in Its Food Factories – The New York Times
- Product Safety Pacts Put Greater Burden on Beijing – The Wall Street Journal