So, about that dangerous Chinese food…

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images Remember all the fuss earlier this year about contaminated food products coming from China? Well fear no more. At least, that’s the word from the U.S. government. Earlier this week, U.S. and Chinese officials signed an agreement on food safety that will allow U.S. regulators to inspect Chinese food processing facilities and, ...

597657_071213_chinafood_05.jpg
597657_071213_chinafood_05.jpg

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Remember all the fuss earlier this year about contaminated food products coming from China? Well fear no more. At least, that's the word from the U.S. government. Earlier this week, U.S. and Chinese officials signed an agreement on food safety that will allow U.S. regulators to inspect Chinese food processing facilities and, they hope, keep unsafe products from reaching U.S. shores.

It sounds deliciously promising. That is, until you look at the plan's details.

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Remember all the fuss earlier this year about contaminated food products coming from China? Well fear no more. At least, that’s the word from the U.S. government. Earlier this week, U.S. and Chinese officials signed an agreement on food safety that will allow U.S. regulators to inspect Chinese food processing facilities and, they hope, keep unsafe products from reaching U.S. shores.

It sounds deliciously promising. That is, until you look at the plan’s details.

As reported, the inspection regime does not cover all food products. The new inspection rules cover preserved foods, pet food, and fish. Increased inspections of meats or other fresh foods is apparently not in the cards. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have the budget to keep up with such a demanding inspection regime. Currently, only 1 percent of imported food is inspected. Nor is the FDA’s budget set to rise drastically: The agency is getting about $100 million next year above its current budget level of $1.5 billion. That increase barely keeps up with rising operational costs and is not nearly enough to cover all the new overseas inspections that need to be performed.

U.S. officials are quick to point out that the inspections are targeted at those products that pose the greatest risk, and the agreement leaves room for expansion in the types of products tested. Well, I feel better already. Now it seems like all I have to worry about is practically everything else labeled “Made in China.”

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