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New Safety Measures for Imports on the Horizon
On November 6th 2007, President Bush proposed new safety measures to insure that items imported into the United States meet safety standards. This step is resulting from the increased number of recalls in the past couple of years, specifically items such as toothpaste, dog food and toys produced overseas.
Bush proposes that the following improvements be made:
• Giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to order mandatory recalls of unsafe products. As it stands now, the FDA can only encourage companies to voluntarily recall unsafe items, but have no way of enforcing a recall if the company refuses to do so.
• An increase in the presence of U.S. inspectors from Customs, Border Patrol the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other agencies in countries that are major exporters to the U.S.
• A certification program (“seal of approval”) for companies that meet safety standards on a proven and regular basis. This change is expected to help encourage retailers to use businesses with the certification, and help discern those companies that are not meeting safety standards often enough.
Senator Charles Schumer
There are critics out there who complain that, though this is a start, the proposed changes aren’t quite enough. There is an indication that consumers would still be left in the dark about unsafe items and what is being done to protect us. Democratic Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer from New York believes that additional changes should include providing consumers with quick and easy access to product safety information and implementing government-wide standards for product safety oversight.
While I agree that Senator Schumer makes effective recommendations for additional implementation, I disagree with his and others’ views that President Bush’s proposals are not enough. I think that the changes and improvements Bush is recommending are way overdue, especially in light of the latest toy recalls for lead contamination.
In fact, I think that giving the FDA more power over recalls is an absolutely wonderful idea and that the process should begin immediately to implement it. Unfortunately, that’s not the way things work and it will take some time to make these changes come to pass. But at least we can have hope that something is finally being done to help ensure the safety of our families.
What are your thoughts on the current import situation and the President’s proposed changes?
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