There’s a big push in the U.S. to eat locally grown produce and other food products. Proponents of eating locally produced food say that, among other reasons, locally produced food is fresher, has less of an environmental impact, and is less likely to make you sick.
Despite the push to each locally, a massive amount of food is imported into the U.S. from foreign sources. How safe is that food? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency charged with inspecting our country’s food and drug supplies. But the agency is only able to inspect a small percentage of food, including imported items.
The FDA is reported to have turned back 16,000 shipments of food from the U.S. in 2010. That sounds like a lot until you consider that 10 million food shipments arrive at our borders every year. That means that less than 0.2 percent of all imported food shipments are stopped by the FDA.
Why are so few shipments rejected? Part of the problem is the FDA’s inspection rate. The FDA physically inspects only about 2 percent of imported food shipments every year. Taken with the 0.2 percent rejection rate, the FDA rejects about 10 percent of the shipments it physically inspects. What about the other 98 percent?
Eating locally produced food doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick, and eating imported food won’t necessarily send you to the hospital. But regardless of where your food comes from, getting a serious case of food poisoning can cost you big. The physical symptoms of food poisoning are bad enough. In some cases, food poisoning can cause permanent damage to your body. But there’s also the financial cost of a serious illness. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a serious case of food poisoning, an experienced St. Louis product liability attorney can evaluate whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.