NEW ORLEANS, May 23 (UPI) -- The United States is at increasing risk from food imported from developing nations that do not have the same sanitary standards for production, researchers say.
Scientists at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans said increased importation of food creates greater risk of food-borne disease, especially in the case of seafood and fresh produce, an ASM release reported Monday.
"Approximately 15 percent of food consumed in the United States in 2006 was imported," Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia said.
"Sanitation practices for food production are not universally equivalent throughout the world. Importing foods can move diseases from areas where they are indigenous to locations where they are seldom found or do not exist," he said.
In 2010 over 80 percent of fish and seafood consumed in the United States was imported, and much of that came from Asia where raw domestic sewage and/or livestock manure are frequently used in fish farming, researchers said.
"The reality is we are going to continue to import foods at a greater rate in large part because labor costs in developing countries are much lower than they are here," Doyle said. "We are going to see more food coming from developing countries which frequently have lower standards for producing foods."