The 2007 melamine scandal that surfaces in the U.S. from Chinese imported pet-food products and China's recent melamine scandal involving dairy products in the country has heightened concern over the safety of food imports. Consequently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has raised its priority to address the issue.

FDA officials say the agency will place more than 60 regulators worldwide in 2009 to step up efforts to ensure the safety of food imports. Specifically, FDA is planning to establish an office in China by the end of this year. They also point out that FDA plans to focus on imported products from India, Latin America and the Middle East.

This is a significant change from the previous practice of sending inspectors out on individual assignments. FDA officials expect the plan to cost about $30 million the first year.

Source: Wall Street Journal