APRIL 28, 2011
A few months after the Obama Administration bragged about enacting “sweeping” legislation to protect the nation’s food supply, experts at a federal symposium reveal that half of what Americans eat comes from foreign countries not covered by the measure.This leaves the nation vulnerable to bioterrorism via tainted food, according to experts participating in the FBI’s International Symposium on Agroterrorism. The annual event, taking place in Kansas City this week, aims to protect the world’s food supply from terrorism through information-sharing and collaboration among governments, the private sector and academia.The world-renowned agroterrorism experts attending this year’s symposium have some rather worrisome news for Americans, despite the president’s political horn-tooting. Because it’s nearly impossible to know where 50% of our food comes from, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to protect consumers from tainted supplies as well as intentional bioterrorism attacks.In fact, a director at a special Homeland Security Food Protection and Defense program saysmore foreign companies are registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—the government agency that regulates the industry—to sell products in this country than domestic firms. That means federal regulators in the U.S. have little control or say over the fast-growing food global market.You wouldn’t know that from reading the Obama Administration’s promotion of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which claims to “set in motion sweeping improvements to the security and safety of our nation’s food supply.” When Obama signed the measure earlier this year the White House issued a press release referring to it as “historic legislation” that will establish “science-based standards” for safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables to minimize the risk of serious illness or death.The legislation also “significantly enhances” the FDA’s ability to oversee food products coming into the U.S. from other countries each year, according to the release, which also claims that only an “estimated 15 percent” of the U.S. food supply is imported. The agroterrorism experts, many of them on the government’s payroll, assure its more like 50%. Then again, they were quoted in the media not a skewed White House press release.
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