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The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that while food safety concerns have ratcheted up security across the board, food importers -- especially those bringing in food from Asia and the Middle East -- believe that they are being unfairly targeted by time-consuming inspections that are costing them time and money.

The LAT cites one case, in which spices being imported into the US from India underwent two sets of inspections by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and then reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. “An FDA inspector arrived to tear open boxes of cumin seed and coriander powder, take samples to test for contaminants or agents of bioterrorism and mark each box with a number and date in felt-tip pen,” the LAT reports, noting that the importer now has to wait up to a month for the results.

The US government says that it isn’t singling out any one group, but concedes that foreign food imports are getting more attention than they used to.
KC's View:
This is a tough one. On the one hand, fairness suggests that no single group should be singled out for tougher scrutiny. On the other hand, if there are two boxes -- one from Iraq and one from Barbados -- which one would you be more likely to open to make sure that the contents were absolutely safe?