andrew schneider investigates

May 6, 2008

Lab watchdogs let dangerous imports in

Leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce have contacted the 10 largest private analytical laboratories responsible for determining the safety of the imported food products entering the U.S. and asked them to fess up to companies importing unsafe food.

In a letter to the laboratory management, Committee Chairman John Dingell and Rep. Bart Stupak, who heads the Oversight and Subcommittee, said that during the committee’s ongoing investigations into food safety issues they learned that it is a routine occurrence for private laboratories to discard test results documenting food safety violations at the direction of the importer.

“When this occurs, the importer can then instruct the same private laboratory, or a different one, to test the product again until a clean result is obtained,” said Dingell.

The members asked the laboratories to identify the importers of adulterated food in an effort to determine whether this food is making it into the country’s food supply.

Under the Food and Drug Administration’s Import Alert rules, products are only allowed to enter commerce after a private laboratory has determined they are safe. However, during its investigation, the committee determined that this testing is done without alerting FDA that potentially dangerous food has been imported into this country and has entered commerce.

“Importers should not be permitted to ship food that they know to be contaminated to our stores and ultimately to our tables,” Dingell said.

Stupak added: “The fact that the FDA tolerates this imminent threat to the public health is outrageous. We will probably never know how many people have suffered illness or worse because some importers have chosen to profit from selling tainted food..”
The committee is working on legislation that will require all private food labs to be certified and all test results to be provided to FDA at the same time it is given to importers.”

Here is a link to the full text of the letters and to whom they were sent.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: