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LISA NAPOLI: From tainted spinach to pet food, the people at the Food and Drug Administration must be awfully stressed out. Today Congress takes a look at the challenges facing the FDA as we import more food than ever. From Washington, Jeremy Hobson reports.
JEREMY HOBSON: The FDA can inspect food processing plants here, but it’s more difficult when the plants are in other countries. That leaves the agency checking imports at the border which it only does about 1 percent of the time.
Some say the FDA’s $2 billion budget is not enough.
DON KENNEDY: FDA actually is employing fewer people and receiving significantly less real money.
Don Kennedy is a former FDA commissioner who will testify before Congress today. His call for more cash is echoed by Caroline Smith DeWaal at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
CAROLINE SMITH DEWAAL: When it comes to food safety, the budget has actually been declining. And we’re really seeing the price now.
Part of the price she’s referring to: recent pet deaths blamed on melamine. It appears to have made its way into pet food via China even though it’s illegal here.
Democrats have proposed legislation in both the House and the Senate that would beef up the nation’s food safety screening.
In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.
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