Tanner questions administration
U.S. Rep. John Tanner asked the Bush Administration Thursday about how it can ensure the safety of food, toy and other consumer products being shipped into the United States from other countries.
Tanner submitted his question in writing following a joint hearing of the subcommittees on Trade and Oversight — two panels on which Tanner serves as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“The American people need to know that when they buy their food in the supermarkets, it’s safe for consumption,” Tanner wrote in his inquiry. “Food safety issues have taken a back seat in the last five years to the prevention of terrorism, including bioterrorism, on the food supply. Would it be a useful exercise to examine some of the processes we have employed to secure our ports as a model for how best to ensure the $76 billion in food we import every year is safe for consumption?
“I am particularly interested in looking at the Container Security Initiative, which stations Customs and Border Patrol agents at foreign ports to get a better idea of what is heading to U.S. ports. Would it be feasible to employ the same structure to a food safety-related program in which we place inspectors at major overseas ports to ensure our standards are met before the products make their way to America?”
Millions of toys, food items and other imported consumer goods have been recalled in the last two months alone, including baby rattles, pet food, toothpaste, seafood, decorative fireplaces and toasters.
Tanner represents Tennessee’s 8th Congressional district in West and Middle Tennessee. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as chairman of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Published in The Messenger on 10.08.07
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