The 2007 US petfood recall, caused by the deliberate
contamination of ingredients (wheat gluten or flour and rice
protein) with the compound melamine, has consumers worried
about not only the quality and wholesomeness of their pets'
food, but also their own. Here are 10 reasons why US consumers
are concerned about food safety:
- According to the US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), 76 million Americans get sick from
foodborne illnesses each year, 325,000 require
hospitalization and 5,000 die.
- A CDC report published in April 2007 shows a 50% increase
infections since 2004 and a 78% increase in Vibrio infections
(caused by eating raw shellfish) during the past decade.
- During the past year, bagged spinach infected with
infected more than 170 people across 25 states, and peanut
butter infected with Salmonella infected more than 400 people
in 44 states.
- During 2005 and 2006, recalled food recovery rates were
28% and 34% respectively, according to the US Department of
Agriculture. (The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, does
not track this.)
- During the past five years US food makers looking
to cut costs have more than doubled their business with
low-cost countries such as Mexico, China and India-"nations
that have the most shipments fail the limited number of
checks the FDA makes," according to an April 23, 2007,
release from the Associated Press (AP).
- The number of FDA food safety inspections dropped 47%
between 2003 and 2006, with 12% fewer FDA employees in field
offices concentrating on food issues, according to an AP
- During 2006, less than 1% of the 8.9 million imported
food shipments-representing $1.9 trillion in foreign
goods-were inspected by the FDA. In San Francisco, each
"inspection" consists of a 30-second review via computer
- The FDA's comprehensive Import Strategic Plan, which was
created after 9/11 to guard the nation's food supply against
tainted imports, was completed in 2003 but never implemented
"due to budget constraints, competing priorities and
government inertia." (So says an April 27, 2007, article in
Los Angeles Times
- Half of the country's import inspection
laboratories are facing closure in a move to "modernize the
FDA's food safety efforts," says the
Wall Street Journal
(July 17, 2007).
- In mid-2007, the US Government Accountability Office,
which for several years has been highly critical of the
nation's "fragmented" food safety structure, placed food
safety enforcement on its list of "high risk" items,
according to a July 16, 2007, article in the
David Lummis is the lead pet market analyst for Packaged Facts. Contact Packaged Facts at Tel:+1.240.747.3000; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.packagedfacts.com.