GRIFFIN, Ga., June 3 (UPI) -- Sanitation for food production is not uniform worldwide and food imported into the United States may put some at risk, a researcher warns.
Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia said U.S. food imports are putting many at greater risk of food-borne disease because many countries do not have the same U.S. sanitary standards.
"Approximately 15 percent of food consumed in the United States in 2006 was imported -- mainly fresh produce, tree nuts, fish and shellfish," Doyle said in a statement. "Importing foods can move diseases from areas to locations where they do not exist."
More than 80 percent of fish and seafood consumed in the United States is imported, much of it from Asia where raw domestic sewage and/or livestock manure frequently are used in fish farming, Doyle said.
In China, crops and seafood typically are grown on small parcels where farmers often use excessive amounts of pesticides for produce and antibiotics for fish and shrimp production -- practices not approved for use in the United States. Untreated human waste and animal manure are often used to treat soils or aquaculture ponds, said Doyle, who spoke at the 108th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston.