FDA's Inspection of Imported Dairy Products

RCED-92-258R: Published: Sep 2, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 2, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) inspection of imported dairy products, focusing on the: (1) differences in inspection and sampling procedures for imported dairy products and other imported foods; (2) inspection requirements for imported fresh/frozen milk and cream; (3) differences in FDA inspection and sampling procedures for domestic and imported dairy products; and (4) quantity of FDA-inspected imported dairy products. GAO noted that FDA: (1) has similar inspection procedures for imported dairy products and other food imports, and targets products with a history of violations; (2) samples an average of 4.3 percent of imported dairy products, and sample rates vary between products; (3) samples about 4.5 percent of imported cheese and 1.2 percent of imported butter; (4) found that 9 percent of the 5,217 physical samples between 1986 and 1990 tested positive for microbial contamination, pesticide residues, and filth; (5) relies on foreign governments to inspect and ensure that imported milk and cream products meet U.S. requirements; and (6) inspection of U.S. domestic dairy production includes testing raw materials and processing facilities, monitoring good manufacturing practices, selectively sampling and testing finished products, and multi-agency testing and monitoring cooperation.

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