In an effort to protect consumers in both countries, the U.S. and China have renewed a 5-year agreement food safety agreement that will place a greater emphasis on inspections and identifying high-risk foods that may contain harmful strains of salmonella or other forms of food-borne illness. Of course this is really just scratching the surface on what the agreement entitles. If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading and we’ll go over some of the key points to this latest food safety agreement between the U.S. FDA and China’s AQSIQ.
The original food safety agreement between China and the U.S. occurred back on December 11, 2007. You may remember how the late 90s and early 2000s had an influx of tainted food products originating from China, which even caused some deaths in some cases. Instead of stopping the importation of food products coming from China, the U.S. FDA decided to take a different course of action by creating a food safety agreement between the two companies. While this agreement allowed for several new changes to be made, it’s primary focus was to improve the quality of food coming into the U.S. from China.
One of the biggest changes with the U.S. and China food safety agreement was the focus it placed on what they considered “high-risk foods”. As the name suggests, these are foods with a greater chance of harboring bacteria or pathogens that may cause food-borne illness. Some of the most common foods that fall under this category are canned goods and pet food, both of which have a history of harboring dangerous bacteria.
Another big change that came with the food safety agreement was the establishment of FDA headquarters on China soil. Instead of waiting for the food to reach the U.S., the FDA is now able to perform inspections before it’s sent out; therefore, there’s less chance of tainted foods being exported to the U.S. In 2011, there were a total of 85 FDA inspections carried out in China, and this number is only expected to grow in the following years.
The food safety agreement expired earlier this month, but the two countries decided to renew it for an additional 5 years on December 11, 2012. You have to realize that it’s in both countries best interests to continue importing and exporting food products, and this is the primary reason why the agreement is in place. There’s been a lot of controversy over the quality levels of food from China, but this agreement is trying to get consumers to trust their products once again.