WHY?

Well this “headline as a question thing” that I had mentioned in my post of May 15th seems to have caught on, or perhaps I have just become attuned to it so I notice it more, in the San Jose Mercury, Why U.S. doesn’t stop tainted food from China, (not technically a question, but it’s close) and in the Houston Chronicle, a wonderful article Are you what your pets eat?

I can’t believe one paragraph from the Houston Chronicle article by John E. Peck. I had to re-read it to make sure it was really published, and I wasn’t hallucinating:

Responsibility for this latest food scandal lies with runaway globalization, as well as the corrupting influence of corporate agribusiness on government oversight. As U.S. trade barriers came down and imports skyrocketed, corporations raked in unprecedented profits and consumers were left fearing the old Latin adage: “caveat emptor,” or buyer beware.

It is for that paragraphs like that I had created the category ‘finally.’ Links and further excerpts below the fold..

DANGEROUS BYPRODUCTS
Are you what your pets eat?
Melamine scare is a good reason for Country of Origin Labeling for human food
By JOHN E. PECK
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

The Bush administration needs to take a serious look at our food supply.

Late last month, federal officials were doing another round of damage control, this time contacting pork and poultry producers in nine states about melamine-tainted feedstock and culling suspected animals.

Unfortunately, some livestock could not be recalled since they were already on their way to your plate.

The Food and Drug Administration’s response? Not to worry, there is no scientific evidence that eating melamine is bad for humans, so no grocery recall is necessary.

Consumers have now unwittingly joined their pets as subjects in a massive food safety experiment.

Melamine is a plastic coal derivative used in the manufacture of fertilizer. It has never been tested or approved for animal or human consumption.

And yet there is a large underground market in China selling melamine scrap for livestock feed as a cheap filler, boosting nitrogen levels and creating the appearance of higher protein content, according to The New York Times.

This is hardly the first case of an illegal byproduct getting dumped into the U.S. food system with the tacit approval of the FDA.

Milk protein concentrate, which enters the United States as an industrial-grade ingredient to make adhesives and which has never been subject to consumer-safety testing or given Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status by the FDA, is now found in hundreds of adulterated cheese products, candies, chips, nutritional drinks and other processed junk foods.

For powerful corporations like Kraft, it is much more lucrative to import milk protein concentrate to make Velveeta, Mac n’ Cheese or Kraft Singles and hope pliant FDA officials turn a blind eye than to pay U.S. family dairy farmers a fair price for real domestic milk.

Responsibility for this latest food scandal lies with runaway globalization, as well as the corrupting influence of corporate agribusiness on government oversight. As U.S. trade barriers came down and imports skyrocketed, corporations raked in unprecedented profits and consumers were left fearing the old Latin adage: “caveat emptor,” or buyer beware.

And from the Washington Post, care of the San Jose Mercury:

Why U.S. doesn’t stop tainted food from China

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical. Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria. Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

These were among the 107 food imports from China the Food and Drug Administration detained at U.S. ports just last month, agency documents reveal, along with more than 1,000 shipments of tainted Chinese dietary supplements, toxic Chinese cosmetics and counterfeit Chinese medicines.

For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught – many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry.

Now the confluence of two events – the highly publicized contamination of U.S. chicken, pork and fish with tainted Chinese pet food ingredients and this week’s resumption of high-level economic and trade talks with China – has activists and members of Congress demanding the United States tell China it is fed up.

Dead pets and melamine-tainted food notwithstanding, change will prove difficult, policy experts say, in large part because U.S. companies have become so dependent on the Chinese economy that tighter rules on imports stand to harm the U.S. economy, too.

“So many U.S. companies are directly or indirectly involved in China now, the commercial interest of the United States these days has become to allow imports to come in as quickly and smoothly as possible,” said Robert B. Cassidy, a former assistant U.S. trade representative for China and now director of international trade and services for Kelley Drye Collier Shannon, a Washington law firm.

`Kowtowing to China’

As a result, the United States finds itself “kowtowing to China,” Cassidy said, even as that country keeps sending American consumers adulterated and mislabeled foods.

It’s not just about cheap imports, added Carol Tucker Foreman, a former assistant secretary of agriculture now at the Consumer Federation of America.

“Our farmers and food processors have drooled for years to be able to sell their food to that massive market,” Foreman said. “The Chinese counterfeit. They have a serious piracy problem. But we put up with it because we want to sell to them.”

We will see if this thing of headlines as a question thing catches on, perhaps someone will actually ask GWB one of these questions, someday…finally…

Advertisements
WHY?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s