U.S. lawmaker blasts China food safety

Source of Article:  http://www.reuters.com/article/FoodandAgriculture09/idUSTRE52H4LF20090318

Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:28pm EDT

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has "serious issues" with food imports from China and needs to do more to prevent contaminated products from entering the U.S. food supply, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro told the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit on Wednesday.

"We have a series of very critical food-safety issues in China that need to be addressed," said DeLauro, the head of an influential appropriations subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration.

The United States needs to ensure that China's food safety standards are at least equal to U.S. standards to prevent tainted imports, said DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat.

She cited incidents when China has shipped mislabeled food, and products contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.

China last week complained to the World Trade Organization about a U.S. law that blocks imports of Chinese poultry products -- a law put in place by DeLauro's committee.

DeLauro said the United States needs assurances that poultry products from Chinese plants are safe before the imports are allowed.

"I continue to believe that trade should not trump public health and I will work with the industry, I will work with the administration to find a resolution" to the poultry dispute, DeLauro said.

(For summit blog: blogs.reuters.com/summits/)

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by David Gregorio and Matthew Lewis)





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