Friday, August 31, 2007

U.S. gives consumers day to sound off on bad imports

Yahoo! News
U.S. gives consumers day to sound off on bad imports

The Bush administration will conduct a meeting this fall to hear Americans' advice on how to stem a wave of unsafe imports from China and other countries, officials said on Thursday.

The all-day meeting on October 1 at the Agriculture Department in Washington is designed to gather suggestions about how the government and companies can better ensure the safety of imported food and other products.

U.S. consumers have been jarred in recent months by a spate of recalls of unsafe children's toys, chemical-laced toothpaste, and dangerous additives in pet food and seafood.

Most of the goods under scrutiny come from China. Beijing is taking steps to crack down on unscrupulous exporters, but it also is seeking to fend off some of the blame.

Bush's panel, headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and including officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agriculture Department and other agencies, will present two reports this fall.

An Agriculture Department official said comments from October's meeting, made in person or teleconference, will contribute to the second report which will set out specific actions the government can take to safeguard against perilous products.

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