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Where will the tainted food scandal end?

Steve Henn May 9, 2007

LISA NAPOLI: The tainted food that may have made your dear old dog sick wasn’t just fed to pets. Chickens, pigs, and today we learned Canadian fish farms were all using the same sketchy ingredients. Many of the animals who ate that food were headed for America’s dinner tables.

As Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports, the unfolding tale has shone a bright light on the loosely regulated web that is our global food supply.

STEVE HENN: It wasn’t that long ago that the vast majority of food Americans ate was raised and processed right here. Not anymore — in the last 10 years, food imports into this country have doubled and are now worth about $70 billion. Now, more than ever, we are all eating from an international table.

CHRIS WALDRUP: This is highlighting some of the dangers of importing a large portion of our food supply without the proper checks.

Chris Waldrup follows food safety at the Consumer Federation of America. While food imports have exploded, the federal budget for food inspection has been flat. Waldrup’s worried that’s a recipe for trouble.

CHRIS WALDRUP:I’m waiting to kind of hear how much larger this contamination is. I’m a little concerned that we don’t know where the end is yet.

Waldrup says free trade in food has brought down prices but that’s cold comfort if the food you eat ends up making you sick.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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