Over the past few years, food safety alerts about dangerous tomatoes, canned chili, peanut butter and beef have made Americans uneasy at the grocery store. Even before this summer‚ warning about salmonella-tainted tomatoes and jalapenos, three-quarters of Americans were more concerned about food safety than they were five years ago.
The growing volume of nearly uninspected imported food only exacerbates these consumer concerns. A key import that should concern consumers is seafood. Fish and seafood cause one fifth of reported foodborne illness outbreaks. More than four out of five pounds of fish that Americans eat come from overseas. And our reliance on imported seafood is growing‚ seafood imports grew 11 percent between 2003 and 2006, to 5.4 billion pounds of fish. A 2007 Food & Water Watch study, Import Alert, found that U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors examined less than 2 percent of imported fish and seafood shipments.