Food Safety and Globalization: Mexican Produce in the United States
Martinez Vergara, Brenda Esthela
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This paper analyzes the growth of the US demand for imported fresh produce, in spite of a negative consumer perception regarding food imports; as well as the actions undertaken by the government of Mexico to help the United States ensure the safety of its food supply and help American consumers recognize its commitment to food safety. To do this, data from the United States Department of Agriculture was used to look at how produce imports have increased in the last 35 years and how Mexico has established itself as the US largest supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables. Then, it looks at consumer perceptions and how American consumers are still wary about imported food, followed by a discussion about the Mexican Food Safety System, highlighting actions that showcase the Mexican government and industry’s commitment to food safety. Finally, there will be a brief discussion of the meaning of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for the produce industry, the challenges it represents and the opportunities for those who have invested in food safety. All these elements will help to recognize that, in today’s globalized world, no single agency or country can ensure food safety on its own. The safety of the US food supply is the responsibility of all the players along the production and distribution chain no matter where they are located.