Inspector costs under microscope

U.S. Capitol Building

TEXT OF STORY

Lisa Napoli: Today, a House subcommittee hears legislation aimed at making our food and drug imports safer. Democrat John Dingell is sponsoring a bill that calls for more inspectors. At issue is who should pay for them. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sarah Gardner reports.


Sarah Gardner: The U.S. imports twice as much food as a decade ago. But government inspectors examine less than 1 percent of it, and recent cases of tainted pet food and seafood from China have raised alarm.

Congressman Dingell's bill would require U.S. food importers to foot the bill for more testing.

Jean Halloran with Consumers Union says that's appropriate:

Jean Halloran: And if that causes the price to consumers to rise, that's appropriate also, because it should be reflected in the price that these products need extra oversight and extra attention.

But Patty Lovera at Food and Water Watch says taxpayers should pick up the bill:

Patty Lovera: We think it really adds confusion to that relationship if the industry is paying to be inspected. We think that that puts the independence of those inspections in question.

Food importers, no surprise, want the government to pay for inspections, too. But they also want higher safety standards in exporting countries.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk covering sustainability news spots and features.

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