Flagged food imports

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    Flagged food imports

    Lead in candy: The FDA has had imported candy on red alert since 1994, when a contaminated treat entered the country via Mexico. While lead in packaging hasn't occurred recently, they still see cases of lead coming from unwashed chili peppers used as an ingredient.

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    Flagged food imports

    Unapproved drugs in seafood: A number of international aquaculture operations on are alert for using unapproved drugs in that could make seafood unsafe for consumers.

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    Flagged food imports

    Mad cow disease risk in supplements: The USDA's prohibition on imports of meat from countries with a history of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease, doesn't apply to dietary supplements, prompting the FDA to closely monitor shipments for the disease which, as it notes, is "extremely resistant to activation by normal disinfection or sterilization procedure."

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    Flagged food imports

    Cocaine in tea:  The FDA's been on alert ever since 1986, when the DEA cracked down on herbal tea made from "decocainized coca leaves" sent to Hawaii, Georgia, Chicago and various East Coast locations.

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    Flagged food imports

    Melamine in milk: Milk products from China have been flagged since the 2008 infant formula scandal, in which thousands of babies were sickened, and several died, after consuming contaminated formula. The problem of melamine, according to the FDA, is a recurring one -- inspection officials are also on the lookout for anything containing milk as an ingredient, including yogurt, frozen desserts, biscuits, cakes and cookies, taffy-like soft candy products, chocolates and beverages.

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    Flagged food imports

    Metals in fruit juice: Heavy lead and arsenic contamination has been found in fruit juice concentrates from Argentina and China. A single 8 ounce serving of grape juice found in a shipment from 2002 contained three times the amount of lead judged to be tolerable for children.

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    Flagged food imports

    Bacteria in cheese: A laundry list of contaminants, from salmonella to E. coli, have been found in imported cheese from around the world. The FDA also looks out for the use of nitrates in cheese and other dairy products.

    Wikimedia Commons

    Flagged food imports

    Pathogens in produce: Because fresh produce is likely to be consumed raw and follows complex distribution patterns, disease outbreaks from contaminated imports is likely to be widespread and difficult to contain. As such, fruits and vegetables from a number of countries are on red alert.

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Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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