Former overseas meat inspectors say the USDA heavily depends on foreign governments to inspect the nearly 4 billion pounds of meat imported each year. But some of those inspectors have failed to meet USDA meat standards designed to guarantee protection against common food-borne diseases. The USDA contends that imported meat is safe under the current system. "Our system is the model for the world -- and the most stringent in the world," says Elsa A. Murano, USDA undersecretary for food safety.
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