"In recent years consumers have been buffeted by one worry after another. Is the pet food they buy safe for their animals? Are the toys they purchase safe for their children? As public debates over product risk have become more important, we've discovered a surprising fact: the safety of imported goods isn't just a matter of writing rules. Import Safety is a must-read for anyone trying to understand how governments—and consumers—can negotiate the globalized world."—Donald F. Kettl, Dean of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
"Import Safety provides a timely and comprehensive overview of the challenges faced by both governments and domestic and foreign firms in protecting consumers from unsafe imported goods. It not only describes and documents the magnitude of this challenge but also offers a number of creative legal and administrative solutions to address it."—David Vogel, Solomon P. Lee Chair in Business Ethics, University of California, BerkeleyOn World Food Day in October 2008, former president Bill Clinton finally accepted decade-old criticism directed at his administration's pursuit of free-trade deals with little regard for food safety, child labor, or workers' rights. "We all blew it, including me when I was president. We blew it. We were wrong to believe that food was like some other product in international trade." Clinton's public admission came at a time when consumers in the United States were hearing unsettling stories about contaminated food, toys, and medical products from China, and the first real calls were being made for more regulation of imported products. Import Safety comes at a moment when public interest is engaged with the subject and the government is receptive to the idea of consumer protections that were not instituted when many of the Clinton era's free-trade pacts were drafted.
"An important book. I am impressed by the way it tackles the food safety problems created by globalization and explains why our current regulatory systems are failing to protect the public. Best, it offers highly innovative ways to solve food safety problems and should be welcomed by policy makers the world over. Anyone who cares about the safety of food and other imports needs to read this book."—Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University
"This timely volume provides a broad perspective on the complexities and problems involved in controlling the quality of imported products in world trade. . . . A valuable resource for anyone interested in this topic, which touches all of our lives."—Choice
Written by leading scholars and analysts, the chapters in Import Safety provide background and policy guidance on improving consumer safety in imported food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and toys and other products aimed at children. Together, they consider whether policymakers should approach import safety issues through better funding of traditional interventions—such as regulatory oversight and product liability—or whether this problem poses a different kind of governance challenge, requiring wholly new methods.
Cary Coglianese is Deputy Dean of Penn Law, Edward B. Shils Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania. Adam M. Finkel is Fellow and Executive Director of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania. David Zaring, also with the Penn Program on Regulation, is Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Visit the Penn Program on Regulation Import Safety web site for contributor bios and other details.