Saturday, May 26, 2007


China has become an exporter of poisons and the poisons are in everything from toothpaste, eggs, teas, medicines, baby foods, herbs, vitamins, pet foods, fish, wheat, rice and who dares do guess what else? Given that the FDA inspects only 1% of food imports and tests only 0.5%, how safe do you think our food supply is?

China is one of the world’s leading producers of rice, corn, wheat, soybeans, vegetables, soybeans and pork. China is also the world’s leading producer of vitamin “C” and B12. Almost all of China’s food exports have come under close scrutiny by their trade partners. There have been bans by the EU, Japan and the U.S. What is unknown is what ingredients from China have made their way into the food production process. Even within China there have been reports of massive food poisonings including adults and babies.

According to the China Economic review, “The US rejects more food shipments from China than from any other country, AFP reported. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected some 257 Chinese food shipments last month, with at least 137 labeled "filthy" after testing positive for salmonella or for containing banned ingredients. The FDA seized more than 1,000 shipments of tainted cosmetics, food supplements and counterfeit medicine from China last month. Earlier this month, 4,000 pets died in the US from eating tainted pet food imported from China.”(5/21/07).

On Friday, May 25th, officials in Costa Rica seized more than 350 tubes of toothpaste that contained chemicals found in brake fluid and antifreeze. The toothpaste was made in China. There have been reported deaths from the use of such products in other countries.

There can be no doubt that all food imports from China must receive closer scrutiny. Is China the only country with tainted agricultural products? The answer is no and, in fact, the U.S. has had its share of banned agricultural products. The issue is the scope and the nature of the problem. Reports that Chinese tea is dried by using hot exhausts of trucks that run on leaded gasoline is very disturbing. And, the issue seems widespread across the total array of products from China from wheat to toothpaste.

The U.S. must put more money into its food safety and inspection programs. Aside from the immediate threat of poisoned imported foods, who knows what long term effects might emerge from hidden chemicals that have found there way into our food supply? Is it worth the risk to our children and grandchildren to allow them to ingest low level toxins?

The U.S. must alter its food policy. There is no reason to import food into this country. We have been the twentieth century food basket of the world and if we are not careful, we will become the 21st Century “death basket” of the world. Food is one item where we do not need to globalize. Impending climate changes will threaten food imports and if we are dependent on those imports, many will needlessly suffer. Once we lose agricultural lands to development, it will be hard to retrieve. Our goal must be to regain our food independence and to strongly support ag-land preservation. We should be thinking along the lines of regionalizing our food production system in the U.S., and not globalization. With fears of spreading contaminations brought on by global warming, the U.S. must give top priority to stabilizing and enhancing our own food production and position ourselves to help others who will definitely be in need. And, while our food system in not perfect; I would eat American any day over imports from who knows where?

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