August 15, 2007
by Phyllis Schlafly
The scandal of imported products from Communist China has accelerated to a
level that the public should demand "China-free" labels on anything that
goes into a mouth. This includes not only food, vitamins and medicines but
toothpaste and toys which, as all parents know, go into children's mouths.
The U.S. recall of nearly a million toys already sold by Fisher-Price,
because its paint contains excessive amounts of lead, is only the latest in
a string of Chinese product safety scandals. Those toys are Fisher-Price's
multi-million-dollar mistake, but the safety of our food and drugs is the
responsibility of our government; that's why we have a Food and Drug
The Communist Chinese government's response was, first, to deny the problem,
then, to execute its top food and drug regulator. Sorry, that doesn't
assuage our anxiety.
It would take a couple of generations and many billions of dollars to bring
Chinese food up to U.S. health and safety standards. Nearly half of China's
population lives without sewage treatment, and the water isn't safe, whether
from the tap or in sea or pond.
The Chinese food scandal first came to public attention this spring when
hundreds of U.S. cats and dogs died. The FDA discovered that our pet food
used wheat flour from China contaminated with melamine, a chemical used to
make plastics and fertilizers that fooled testers with false high protein
The FDA announced an extensive recall of 100 pet food brands, but nobody
asked the question, why is the United States importing wheat products? Can
America possibly be short of wheat?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that as many as 20 million chickens
and thousands of hogs in several states may have been fed contaminated feed.
In May, 900,000 tubes of toothpaste imported from China were withdrawn
because tests showed that glycerine had been replaced by diethylene glycol,
a chemical used in antifreeze. This poisoned toothpaste has turned up in
U.S. hospitals, prisons, and juvenile detention centers.
We import 80 percent of the seafood we eat, and China is our largest foreign
source. The FDA says that a quarter of the shrimp coming from China contains
antibiotics that are not allowed in U.S. food production and cannot be
eliminated by cooking.
The FDA rejected 51 shipments of catfish, eel, shrimp, and tilapia because
of contaminants such as salmonella, veterinary drugs, and a cancer-causing
chemical called nitrofuran.
China raises most of its fish in water contaminated with raw sewage, and
China compensates by using dangerous drugs and chemicals, many of which are
banned in the U.S. The Chinese try to control the spread of bacterial
infections, disease and parasites by pumping the food with antibiotics and
the waters with pesticides.
Chicken pens are often suspended over ponds where seafood is farmed,
recycling chicken feces as food for the fish.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to allow China to sell cooked (but
not raw) chickens to the U.S. even though public health officials have
warned for several years about a potential avian influenza pandemic. Doesn't
the U.S. have enough chickens?
China exports more than 80 percent of the world's vitamin C, which is put in
thousands of processed foods from fruit drinks to applesauce to granola, and
is used as a key food preservative. There is no claim of contamination yet,
but many worry about dependence on China, which has driven all U.S.
competitors out of business.
Last year, China sold us $675 million in pharmaceutical ingredients and
products. It is estimated that 20 percent of finished generic and
over-the-counter drugs, and 40 percent of the active ingredients for pills
come from China or India.
The United States long ago banned lead in paint because it can cause
learning disabilities, kidney failure, anemia and irreversible brain damage
in children. But lead is widely used in Chinese manufacturing, and 80
percent of toys sold in the U.S. come from China.
Every one of the 24 kinds of toys recalled for safety reasons in the U.S. so
far this year was manufactured in China. Because of lead paint, the U.S. has
recalled hundreds of thousands of children's necklaces, bracelets, earrings,
charms, rings, toy drums, and 1.5 million Thomas & Friends wooden trains.
Other recalled products include a ghoulish fake eyeball toy filled with
kerosene, Easy-Bake Ovens that could trap children's fingers and burn them,
and 450,000 tires that lacked an essential safety feature called a gum strip
to keep the belts of a tire from separating.
The FDA inspects only one percent of our imports from China. It's not
realistic to believe that doubling or tripling the inspection rate would
make any significant difference in the safety of foods or toys.
Nor would FDA on-site inspection of producers in China be practical. When
FDA investigators visited China in May, they found the factories closed, the
machinery dismantled, and all records destroyed.
Source: Eagle Forum www.eagleforum.org E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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