Steadily increasing food imports and changing consumer preferences pose new challenges for food and beverage companies and for the Food and Drug Administration. In recent years, we have experienced dramatic changes in the volume and variety of food imports. The percent of food imported into the U.S. increased by nearly 40 percent between 1995 and 2005 to 15 percent of the U.S. food supply. In particular, roughly 60 percent of the fruits and vegetables and roughly 80 percent of seafood now consumed in the U.S. are imported.
To address the challenges posed by rising imports and changing consumer choices, consumer products companies and federal and state agencies have placed greater emphasis on the prevention of food contamination. By identifying and addressing potential sources of contamination throughout the supply chain, we reduce the risk of foodborne illness to consumers.
GMA is helping its members bolster product safety by providing tools and insights to verify the safety of source ingredients and around supply chain and supplier management.
To improve food safety practices and technical processing expertise in Asia-Pacific countries, GMA helped create a network of training institutes in this region.
Manufacturers bear the responsibility for providing consumers with safe products and for ensuring that those products meet all applicable standards of safety and quality. However, accredited third party certification bodies can play a critical role in efforts to continually improve the safety of our food supplies.