Globalization of the U.S. food supply accommodating product security regulation with free trade
The pet food recall in the spring of its consequences, 2007, as well as other reports of infected food imports experienced an adverse affect on the American shopper's trust in the security of the food supply in the nation's. This paper argues that the private and public sectors must share the obligation for ensuring that imported food entering the Usa is safe. The limited resources of public regulation must be focused on high risk, imported food products from nations which have poor export food safety regimes. Moreover, public regulation must highlight private sector bonuses supporting enactment of state of the art food safety management software.
As an outcome of a large number of pet dogs and cats in America dying or becoming ill due to tainted pet food, in March 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared the biggest pet food recall in U.S. history [Economist.com 2007]. The pet food recall and its own consequences, as well as other reports of infected food imports to the U.S. -including farm-raised catfish and eel from China [Becker 2008]--had an adverse affect on the American consumer's trust in the security of the food supply. (1) In a May 2007 survey of American consumers conducted by the Food Marketing Institute, an industry organization consisting of 1,500 food retailers and wholesalers, consumer confidence in the security of supermarket food fell from 82 percent in 2006 to 66 percent in 2007, the lowest assurance level since 1989--when problems with pesticide pollution of apples and grapes were extensively reported in the media [Food Marketing Institute 2007].In 2006, the United States imported about S7.6 billion worth of food ingredients processed from plants and creatures--up 73 percent from $4.4 billion in 2001. Also, other food and beverage imports increased from $38.3 billion to $63 billion, a 65 percent increase over the same time period [Pritchard 2007]. In August 2007, Collins  estimated the overall volume of food imports to America at S70.5 billion, using a prediction of $75 billion for fiscal year 2008. In line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, U.S. imports currently account for about 15 percent of the U.S. food supply by quantity [U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2007b]. The increase in food imports to the USA is because of mix of variables, including changes in the national food supply, American's diet preference, seasonal access to foods, the exchange rate, tariff changes, as well as the strength of the U.S. market [Jerardo 2003].The reports of tainted vegetables, meat, and seafood imports functions to exemplify a growing issue for the American consumer. As an example, the FDA reported that, from July 2006 through June 2007, its inspectors prevented (for well-being or security reasons) 1,901 cargoes of food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetic, medical devices, and specific electronic equipment from China being sold in the United States. Mexico and India follow closely with cargoes import 1,782 and 1,560 rejected by the FDA [Martin and Palmer 2007]. Other, smaller trading partners also provide substantial amounts of cargoes rejected. It therefore seems that food safety is an international problem.
The organization of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 contained the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (referred to hereafter as the "SPS Agreement"). This arrangement called for major reductions in tariff and nontariff barriers addressed food safety; hastened international attempts at expanding free trade and, in the ensuing years. This means that, particularly for developing countries that want use of developed country markets in processed food products and fixings, farmers and food processors must possess technical and managerial skills to satisfy increasingly stringent food safety regulations and standards ("demands") [Henson 2003]. These food safety conditions are generally substantially higher than those prevailing in developing countries, are technologically challenging and expensive for their sake to fulfill, and--like most technology-based standards--are subject to accelerated progress in scientific and technical comprehension [Athkorala and Jayasuriya 2003]. Therefore, developing countries are often put in a disadvantage as it pertains to using the institutional processes. Unsurprisingly, despite the fact that the SPS Agreement and relevant WTO Dispute Resolution Mechanisms are made to make sure that food safety conditions aren't abused or misused for protection of national producers and food processors from international rivalry, a few of these changes in food safety conditions have invoked feelings among developing country officials and business executives that developed economics are controlling their food import regulations as a guileless, non-tariff, entry barrier instead of as a valid policy instrument for the protection of human and animal well-being [Athkorala and Jayasuriya 2003].In addition, the U.S. government in its bilateral free trade agreement discussions presents food safety challenges in the world of sanitary and phytosanitary problems [APHIS Commerce Support Team 2004]. For a lot of developing countries participated in bilateral trade discussions together with the U.S. government, experience has demonstrated that these challenges significantly surpass the states' technical abilities to satisfy them through powerful regulation [APHIS Commerce Support Team 2004]. There also have been questions raised about whether these free trade deals possess the legal authority to trump U.S. government law pertaining to food safety regulations, thus endangering the well-being of U.S. consumers [Global Trade Watch 2007].
The aim of this paper will be to examine the dynamic between the demands of the U.S. consumer for safe imported food products and ingredients ("food products") and a public policy supporting free trade between the U.S. and developing countries that have agriculturally based markets--an issue of vital value for a large part of the U.S. market. Following this launch. Section 1 of the paper will characterize the current U.S. imported food safety regulatory system. In Section 2, the need for U.S. food safety regulation and standards in international trade arrangements will be described. Section 3 describes present plans to improve the security of U.S. food imports and the expanding role of the private sector. Section 4 will examine the confluence of trade policy and food safety policy. It addresses food safety regulations. Second, it discusses the possibility of international free trade deals to adversely impact recognized U.S. food security standards and regulations. Third, it investigates the possibility of foreign authorities and business legal recourse to declare U.S. food safety announcements prohibited. A discussion of the results of longterm U.S. food security standards and regulations designed to enhance the imported food safety surroundings on trade policy reasons the paper.
1. The U.S. Imported Food Safety Regulatory Regime
Public regulations, also called administrative laws (in contrast to statutory and case law), "are particular standards or directions concerning what can or can't be performed by people, companies, as well as other organizations, using the explicit threat of sanction or fine for transgressions" [Dudley 2005, p. 1]. Food safety regulations are often classified as product or process standards: merchandise standards define features that the product must reach before it's considered safe to enter business, but procedure standards set techniques that have to be employed by the business to procedure or bundle foods [Mitchell 2003].The FDA as well as the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are the main public agencies responsible for applying the U.S. government's imported food regulatory system--although a number of other federal and state agencies also have food health and safety regulatory supervision functions, including the Imported Food Initiative entered between the FDA and the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets [Becker and Porter 2007]. (2) The FDA is charged with regulatory responsibility for the security of about 80 percent of the U.S. food supply (including nonred meat and specific poultry) and applies the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [Becker and Porter 2007]. According to FDA worth-of-cargo data for 2003, the bureau controls $417 billion in local food and $49 billion in imported food [U.S. Food Drug Administration 2007a]. The FSIS is in charge of applying the national safety standards for important red meat, poultry, and egg goods, which makes up most of the remaining 20 percent of the country's food supply [Becker and Porter 2007].Although food products entering U.S. trade must meet the same safety standards as domestically manufactured food products, under the WTO's SPS Agreement, a foreign state is allowed to use its own regulatory authorities and institutional systems in fulfilling U.S. standards under an internationally accepted theory known as "equivalence" [Becker 2006]. To ensure that imported food in fact complies with U.S. standards, the FDA relies on a process of prior notification of incoming food products by importers with U.S. Customs, as well as document reviews at points of entry [U.S. Food Drug Administration 2004]. This system helps FDA inspectors to discover a food cargo's relative risk and whether it needs real assessment or testing of a food sample at among the bureau's 13 regional lab's--whose testing results may suggest non compliance with U.S. regulations and a refusal of the food cargo's entry into U.S. trade [U.S. Food Drug Administration 2004].
The FSIS uses an extremely distinct regulatory system in relation to the FDA, including an alternative way of addressing equivalence, for inspecting imported food products [U.S. Department of Agriculture 2007]. Beneath the FSIS regulatory system, foreign states and an all-inclusive review procedure must pass before being considered eligible to export to the United States [United States of America 2004]. The FSIS demands that states exporting to America supply certifications attesting to compliance with U.S. food safety laws and regulations [United States of America 2004]. Working collaboratively with all the food inspection service of the exporting authorities, the FSIS must certify the state from where the food is imported has a U.S. same degree of security protection (the FSIS at present permits just 32 states this privilege) [U.S. Department of Agriculture 2007]. (3) The FSIS will then rely-on the foreign nation's inspection process to perform day-to-day inspections and certify individual exporting organizations--although the bureau will routinely run onsite audits of the eligible review systems [U.S. Department of Agriculture 2007]. Additionally, FSIS employees re-scrutinize food products at U.S. edge entry points before permitting them to enter into U.S. trade, as well as reviewing all import records (helped by a statistical sampling system) [Becker and Porter 2007].