Monday, April 30, 2007

Eat my toxic waste, please!

Would you buy food, for yourself or your pets, from someone who says:
“ ‘It just saves money if you add melamine scrap,’ said the manager of an animal feed factory here [in China…] ‘People use melamine scrap to boost nitrogen levels for the tests… If you add it in small quantities, it won’t hurt the animals.’ ”
The New York Times report on the widespread pet food poisoning uses the word “supplemented” when accuracy demands the word “adulterated”:
“For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests… [Few] in agriculture [in Zhangqiu] see any harm in using melamine in small doses; they simply see it as cheating a little on protein, not harming animals or pets.”

Sure, what’s a “little” cheating among trading partners?

This attitude needs to be exposed for what it is: a betrayal of trust. Once that trust is broken, never again can we rely on them to provide food products that are clean and unadulterated and described with honesty. Without trust, what do you have? Why would you knowingly consume foods produced by those who see nothing wrong with a “little” cheating if it brings them more money? What other toxic waste will they offload into your dinner?

Many are blaming the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for lax oversight in the melamine case, but can they be expected to reliably test every food product that the manufacturer may have deliberately contaminated with some substance chosen because it’s not among those things checked by the testing? This is not the first food scandal in China, and the readiness of those involved to admit they were merely trying to fake out the tests for protein concentration, as if this were simply a reasonable means of cost-cutting competition, suggests a pervasive attitude of disrespect for their customers.

From the same NY Times article:
“Until China gets programs in place to verify the safety of their products, they need to be inspected by U.S. inspectors. This open-door policy on food ingredients is an open invitation for an attack on the food supply, either intentional or unintentional.”
This recommends a flawed policy. We in the U.S. cannot rely on the Chinese government to guarantee our food safety! There is no reason that we should trust the Chinese government to diligently oversee our safety, and many potential reasons that we should not trust them. What better way could there be to weaken one’s adversaries than to attack them in their food supply? Will we expect USFDA to test all imported foods for every possible neurotoxin and heavy metal and carcinogen and all toxic substances known to man? That is an impossibility!

Chinese agricultural exporters have violated our trust, and have contaminated our food. We U.S. consumers need to take notice, and avoid consuming other suspect products, like their Hongshuai soy sauce and the “amino acid powder” added to breads, both of which were found to be made from human hair processed with carcinogenic chemicals.

Melamine is only the tip of the iceberg. We ignore it at our peril.


Blogger wigged2705 said...

I simply cannot fanthom why there hasn't been greater concern about the lack of quality control from products being exported from China.

What better partnership than companies seeking the greatest profit margins, engaging with a country rife with corruption and scandal.

The following quote from the particular NYT article clearly defines our problem:

"“I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

Bottom line: produce it anyway you can, the Americans will buy it because it's cheap.

The next bottom line? Sell the contaminated pet food products to hog farmers! Let's get this contaminated stuff into our food chain completely!!

12:19 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Yes, isn't that amazing. Put whatever you want into our food, so long as it isn't specifically forbidden.

Isn't it also amazing that even those Americans who have sufficient means to buy something other than the cheapest food will most often choose to buy the cheapest food? And then turn around and buy some overpriced SUV that burns money by the gallon?

Wouldn't you think that people would have more respect for their living selves than that? (I guess the prevalence of fast food outlets answers that question, beyond any doubt.)

And thanks for your comment, wigged!

6:12 PM  

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