Saturday, May 5, 2007

Bad Chinese Food

Why are we buying food - any food - from China? The tainted food products that have been killing dogs and cats in the U.S. now threatens human consumers. People have been freaking out for years about mad cow beef or bird flu - neither of which has produced the catastrophes that were predicted. Yet food from China has been killing hundreds - if not thousands - of people every year for a long time. China has long had a bad reputation for food safety and sanitation. Again: Why are we importing food items from China? (AP) WASHINGTON - Federal officials on Friday placed a hold on 20 million chickens raised for market in several states because their feed was mixed with pet food containing an industrial chemical. Since March 16, more than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled because they were contaminated with melamine. An unknown number of dogs and cats have been sickened or died after eating pet food tainted with the chemical. Federal investigators have been trying to determine how much of the tainted pet food had been used in feed for hogs and chickens. Hog farms in at least six states may have received tainted pet food for use in feed. Those animals also have been barred from market. The USDA and FDA said this week that chicken feed in some farms in Indiana contained byproducts from pet food manufactured with contaminated wheat gluten imported from China. MORE (AP)... There are five major food safety problems in China: Contamination occurs during the cultivation process. It is very difficult to supervise and control the manufacturing process of agriculture products produced by individual farmers; prohibited products and processes are widely used. Food-processing factories are problematic sources of contamination. Most such factories are small, isolated and unorganized. Most factories are not properly equipped to produce quality foodstuffs. Food distribution is not well organized. Chinese food management enterprises lack needed facilities and food distribution is managed with out-of-date methods. Food safety protection is relatively weak in the countryside. Criminals sell impure and bad foods at country fairs and in small shops. During the Fuyang milk powder incident, farmers’ rights and interests were seriously and directly harmed. Food safety problems have brought a bad reputation to Chinese foods in the international market. The recent consecutive reports about the incidents of Fuyang milk powder, Longkou noodles and Sichuan pickled vegetables have already drawn attention and brought serious concerns from Japan, the United States, Hong Kong and Macao. The aforementioned countries have already exerted restrictions on the import of Chinese foods.