The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) provides detailed monthly reports on detentions of food imported into the United States and makes this information accessible through the Internet. For example during July to December 1996 and January to June 1997(Table 1) ,the most prevalent reason for rejection of food products during both periods was contamination with filth from insects, rodents or birds, indicating poor levels of hygienic practices in food processing and handling. Following this, the main reasons for import detentions included microbiological contamination, contravention of low-acid canned food procedures, violation of labelling rules, excess levels of pesticide residues and decomposition.
Number of Contraventions Cited for United States Food and Drug Administration Import Detentions and their Relative Importance for the Period July 1996 to June 1997.
The United States uses a risk-based system with automatic detention when a problem has been highlighted in a particular food consignment. It is only when the food safety issue has been resolved that the border will be opened to detained food consignments once again.