Imported Food Comes With a Hefty Price

Imported food may have higher risk for food poisoning

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Are you the type of person who is aware of contamination, or do you believe "whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger"? As a heads up, also beware of imported food quality.

A large portion of food is being imported from developing nations because labor and production costs are cheaper. The problem with importing foods from these countries is that they often don’t have the same sanitary practices as those used in this country.

Michael Doyle from the University of Georgia says, "We are going to see more food coming from developing countries which frequently have lower standards for producing foods." That means we are potentially putting ourselves at greater risk of developing food borne diseases.

"Buyer beware - imported foods produced with different sanitation practices."

Scientists from the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans held a general meeting to discuss seafood and fresh produce imported from developing nations and the problem of sanitation.

Around 80 percent of seafood consumed in 2010 came from Asian countries, where sewage and livestock manure are used in fish farming. In some Asian countries, fish and shrimp eat waste from chickens that hang over the farming ponds.

Farmers in China use pesticides and antibiotics to produce as much food and seafood as they can, but many of the chemicals aren’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) here in America.

Although there are many problems with importing foods, Doyle says, "Consumers should not immediately jump the gun and start avoiding foods from particular countries." Most U.S companies that import from other countries verify the sanitary measures used in production.

"It is the industry that is responsible for producing safe foods. It is the government's responsibility to verify that they are providing safe foods," says Doyle.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 25, 2011
Last Updated:
May 27, 2011