FDA Plans to Open Outpost in China

Inspectors could block contaminated food from being exported to US
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2008 6:00 AM CST
Pallets with Chinese catfish fillets are tagged with Food and Drug Administration red tags marking it for inspection inside the cold storage warehouse at the Pacific American Fish Company, Inc. in Vernon,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – America's food imports from China are rising and the Food and Drug Administration is planning to start exporting American inspectors to protect the US food supply, Reuters reports. FDA officials hope to open a China office to help them raise food safety standards and to make it easier to act quickly when problems arise. Such an operation would allow a "boots on the ground" response, explained the agency's commissioner.

The FDA is trying to rebuild consumer confidence after a spate of recent food scares, many involving Chinese imports. The agency hopes a China office would be a model for other foreign outposts that would help shift the safety burden for imports to producer countries. An office in China will need to be approved by the Chinese government, but FDA officials say Beijing has been cooperative.