Foreign produce receives greater scrutiny

11/24/2003 | NYTimes.com

With less than 2% of imported produce inspected for disease-causing bacteria, officials are focusing on ways to improve the safety of fruit and vegetables brought into the U.S. from countries with less stringent safety rules. Food-borne illnesses from produce have increased in recent years, as Americans' year-round cravings for fresh fruits and vegetables have led to increased imports. An industry trade group says, "Produce has been implicated in a very small percentage of food-borne illness outbreaks," adding that "most of these were caused by improper handling, not by farm practices."

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