Inspectors Struggle To Keep Up With Imported Food Products

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is partnered with the FDA to anticipate potential threats to an issue of national security: the food supply.

According to federal statistics, 15 percent of the nation’s food supply is imported from overseas.
In fact, a recent study at UC Davis found that 70 percent of olive oils aren’t what the label says they are.

“Sometimes, it’s mixed with nut oils and then there’s allergens involved,” said Patrick Vardaro, an olive oil seller.
As CBS2’s Lisa Sigell reports, olive oil is a target because it’s expensive.

“There’s a lot of fraud in the industry, and it’s obviously for monetary gain,” Vardaro said. Amy Kircher is with the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, which is a University of Minnesota lab set up to protect the nation’s food supply.

“Anything made in bulk or produced or shipped in bulk is something that we’re always very careful with,” Kircher said.

But here and elsewhere, food watchdogs are doing their best to protect the food supply and say the greatest risk of food fraud arises when purchasing from a vendor consumers don’t know well.
They say the labels and products consumers purchase should look familiar.
For more information on food safety, visit the FDA’s website.

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