FDA Decision to Expand Food Irradiation Masks Weak Import Inspections
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
Washington, D.C. – “Today’s announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving the use of ionizing radiation as a food safety measure for crustaceans continues to show how inadequate the FDA food inspection system is, especially for imported foods. Food & Water Watch continues to harbor concerns about the safety of foods treated with radiation, but irradiation continues to be used as a crutch by FDA as a substitute for hiring more inspection personnel and investing in a robust laboratory system that would prevent unsafe seafood from entering the marketplace.
“We import over 80% of our seafood, and much of that comes from countries in Asia, such as the People’s Republic of China, that raise their seafood in squalid conditions. The expansion of irradiation to cover more seafood products will allow those countries to continue to raise their seafood products in filthy and unsanitary factory fish farms since irradiation will be used as the ‘magic bullet’ to make the products safe to eat from microbiological contaminants.
“We also view today’s announcement as one being tied to the negotiations of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement where we will see a further expansion of imported seafood from Asia and a weakening of our food safety requirements for imported food products.”
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]