S08 FDA Food Import Entries and Refusals: Finding Meaning within the Data

Monday, July 10, 2017: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Room 13-14 (Tampa Convention Center)
Primary Contact: Jeffrey Read
Organizer: Jeffrey Read
Convenor: Jeffrey Read
According to USDA trade data, the United States is importing 4–5% more food every year. Within a larger and more diverse food supply, FDA is finding new and different hazards in food; so, it is more important than ever to understand the composition of the U.S. food supply. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as part of its mission to protect consumers, gathers information on the origin and types of food being imported and makes entry decisions after applying a risk-based decision making process. The data FDA gathers provides a rich and unique view of what foods Americans are consuming and the regulations that food producers are struggling to meet in order to gain access to the U.S. market. While FDA gathers the data, it does not always have enough experts or processes to thoroughly analyze import data. Both industry and other government stakeholders, therefore, have attempted to mine publically available information on FDA’s rejections of imported food in order to better understand patterns of regulatory non-compliance and potential risk to consumers. This session will report on recent research outcomes regarding FDA data on entries and refusals of imported food shipments. The purpose of this session will be to highlight methods and findings of recent research in this area. Presenters will have the opportunity to suggest ways in which FDA could improve its data collection and publication to facilitate more meaningful research. Challenges include the quality and detail of publically available FDA imports data, as well as the non-random nature of FDA’s import sampling programs. Finally, ways in which this data can be used by industry and regulators to improve food safety will be discussed. Audience members will leave the session with a better understanding of the challenges facing regulators, along with ideas for future collaboration among researchers.


10:30 AM
11:00 AM
USDA/Ers Experience Working with FDA Import Refusals Data
Jean Buzby, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
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