I'm speaking of products imported from China. It's no secret that foods have been banned in the past. Food made in China has poisoned and killed our dogs, seafood was banned because it contained dangerous cancer causing chemicals and antibiotics, toys made in China were a threat to our children as they contained lead based paints. I think we all know that China does not uphold the standards that we do when it comes to product safety, yet more and more products every day are being imported and consumed by us. From CNN.com -The amount of food imported from China has grown dramatically in the past decade. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States imported $4.1 billion worth of seafood and agricultural products from China in 2006. In 1995, it was $800 million.
This hit home to me a few months ago while shopping in our local Hannfords. How shocking it was to me to see a sign posted over the broccoli saying 'Product of China'. I spoke to the young man in the produce department and asked if there was a way to register a strong complaint about it and he referred me to the suggestion box. I did in fact register a complaint for all the good it might do. (They still sell broccoli from China) There is strength in numbers and we all need to educate ourselves to the seriousness of this situation. If we allow a simple thing like broccoli to become acceptable then more and more produce and other real foods from China will be contaminating our country. I would like to believe that any and all of you would also lodge a complaint and refuse to buy products from China.
Perhaps the following information from CNN.com would be more persuasive:
- 60% of all recalled products in the USA are from China
- 5 types of fish are banned from China for the cancer causing chemicals and antibiotics including malachite green which helps fish survive in polluted fisheries.
- A deadly toxin was found in cough medicine made in China
- Pigs in China are force fed waste water to fatten them for market
- Dairy cows are fed so many antibiotics they can't produce yogurt from their milk
- Lard from China made from sewage
- Diethylene glycol, a solvent found in antifreeze was being used in toothpaste made in China
- Formaldehyde, illegal dyes and industrial wax were being added to candy, pickles, crackers and seafood
- Etc .. etc.. etc
Zhou Qin, a dissident writer who has researched China's food standards said he believes the situation is much worse than anyone realizes.
Farmers and producers, he said, are continually finding new and dangerous ways to cut costs. He cited the example of a farmer in the south who he said deliberately added a cancer-causing chemical to pigs because it made the flesh look better and less fatty. When he challenged the farmer about the potential health dangers, Qin said he replied, "People in the city get free health care."
"The threat is so much more serious than people could ever imagine," Qin said. "China has low labor costs, but you can work out how low the price should be. Businessmen should know something is wrong if the product is cheaper than it should be."
The following are among the top food products from China brought into the United States:
• Apple juice
• Mandarin oranges
• Dried garlic
• Cocoa butter
• Hog guts, bladders, stomachs for sausage casings
• Dry berries
How disconcerting to know that prepared foods are required to list the ingredients in their product, but they're not required to tell you where they got those ingredients.
I believe it's time, even during this difficult economic time, to remember the pride of the 'Made in USA' label, to be willing to pay for quality rather than quantity, knowing that quality is according to USA standards. Perhaps American companies will think twice about outsourcing to save money on labor if we refuse to buy their products... especially from CHINA.
I apologize for not bringing you something uplifting or creative today. It was time... and is time.... to make a difference.