Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

Resolved: Never, ever buy food from China

posted by Rod Dreher

What is wrong with that country? Excerpt:

Since late February, batches of cowpeas from the lush Sanya area of the island of Hainan have tested positive for a highly toxic pesticide, isocarbophos, that is banned from use on fruits and vegetables, according to a report on Tuesday in China Daily, the official English-language newspaper. Tainted cowpeas from here have been found in the provinces of Hubei, Guangdong, Anhui and Jiangsu.
The pesticide was banned in Hainan in 2004 but can still be found in remote parts of the island, China Daily reported. Some farmers still use it because it is much cheaper than legal pesticides.

Seriously, who can trust that any food exported from China is clean?

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posted March 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

There isn’t a US Government regulation requiring labels to tell us where the ingredients came from, is there? If there isn’t, how can one know for sure?

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posted March 3, 2010 at 9:17 am

Lets see we have:
– Anti-freeze in medicine and toothpaste.
– Melamine in pet food.
– Lead then cadmium in children’s jewelry.
– Drywall laced with sulfur compounds.
– Recycled steel tainted with radioactive materials.
I mean why aren’t imports from that country banned? How many chances do they get?

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thomas tucker

posted March 3, 2010 at 9:24 am

And don’t take Chinese herbs or health food products.
The wife of a friend of a mine died from complete liver failure after being given chinese herbs for arthritis- she got them from an “Oriental medicine” physician here in Austin.
WHo knows what kind of contaminants they could have in them?

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posted March 3, 2010 at 9:51 am

Lets see we have:
– Anti-freeze in medicine and toothpaste.
– Melamine in pet food.
– Lead then cadmium in children’s jewelry.
– Drywall laced with sulfur compounds.
– Recycled steel tainted with radioactive materials.
I mean why aren’t imports from that country banned? How many chances do they get?
Let’s not forget the childrens toys that metabolized to GHB(date rape drug) in their stomachs if swallowed.
The ‘benefits’ of free trade (or China holding much of our debt, take your pick)

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Dan b

posted March 3, 2010 at 10:12 am

Saw this article and said, ‘That’s what I was saying last year’. Beware of Chinese products From human kidneys, to metal products, and especially food.

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posted March 3, 2010 at 10:32 am

Eat locally where possible. Frequent farmers’ markets and the produce section of the supermarket. Cook. Avoid processed foods; you don’t know where the raw ingredients came from.
Ignore the designation “organic.” It can mean nothing more than that the right person, either here or abroad, was bribed.
It’s difficult to subsist without buying things made or grown in China – they’re everywhere – but avoid buying anything from China that you might possibly eat or feed to your child or your pet, or that they might get hold of and put into their system.
Lobby for better controls of imports to this country.

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Texas Mama

posted March 3, 2010 at 10:52 am

CHINA…Obama just approved importing CHICKEN from China!!! Frozen CHICKEN…who can trust what those chickens are fed…GEE…let’s close more American farms and buy CHEAP TAINTED Chicken!!!
Now I have to read Meat lables for imported meat! COME ON…can’t Obama find another way to apease the debt with the Chinese than importing their tainted food products????

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posted March 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

John Derbyshire on “Chinese Junk”:
“There is, for example, “quality fade.” You cut a deal with a Chinese manufacturer to import beauty lotions in plastic bottles. You give precise specifications for the product and container. The first shipments are fine. Then customers begin to complain that the plastic of the bottles is too thin. You squeeze a bottle, it collapses. It turns out that your manufacturer has quietly adjusted the molds so that less plastic goes into making each bottle. Neither the importer nor his customers has been told of the change.”
“In this, as in much else, the Chinese are great testers of limits. Just how much “quality fade” can a supplier get away with before the business relationship breaks down? You can be sure they will find out, and stop short a millimeter before the electric fence.”

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posted March 3, 2010 at 11:06 am

And the very same things would be said of American manufacturers and vendors in the 19th century, until the advent of truth-in-advertising and a variety of other food and safety regulation. Oh, and unions…. Cuz a company that mistreats its workers is often found to stop short a mm before the electric fence with even its own customers.

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posted March 3, 2010 at 11:07 am

We’re importing cod, tilapia, scallops, chicken, etc. from China and you can be sure there’s no FDA inspection of this stuff at our ports of entry (POE). Don’t risk the health and safety of your family by buying this stuff, regardless of the “come and get it” prices. It’s pure crap and American fishermen and farmers produce the best food in the world – bar none. BUY AMERICAN!!!!!

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Mark the Zealot

posted March 3, 2010 at 11:13 am

I’m all for avoiding Chinese origin food, but it may be impossible.
I recently read that China is now the world’s leading producer of tomatoes; they proably end up in cans of tomato suace, ketchup etc. here.
Oh, and most of the garlic sold here comes from China.
I’d gladly pay more for US (and especially local) food, toys, electronics etc, but many times there is no choice. We subscribe to produce and meat CSAs. (Some) foods are still subject to choice, at least for now.

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posted March 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

I recently read that China is now the world’s leading producer of tomatoes; they proably end up in cans of tomato suace, ketchup etc. here.
Oh, and most of the garlic sold here comes from China.
In my produce section the origin of foods is specified. I am assuming they don’t do this out of a sense of responsibility, but rather because the law requires it.

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Your Name

posted March 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm

According to this morning’s St. Petersburg (Florida) TImes, “Food-borne illnesses cost the U.S. $152 Billion dollars” – annually, some 76 million are sickened, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and about 5,000 die.
It ain’t just food from China, Mr. Xenophobe. Ever hear of “deregulation”? Seems a lot of Reaganites are still in favor of letting big business (big Agro) do its thing and the heck with the people.

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My Name is Marie

posted March 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I discovered my shallot’s come from China. Only because I got the bag of a zillion shallots with the tag. Typically, they come loose adn you have no clue where they come from.

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posted March 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I won’t even purchase the organic food from China. Much of the frozen vegetables at my local health foods store are from China and I won’t touch them. Why is it so difficult to get frozen organic spinach from the U.S.?

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posted March 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm

what an eye opener this article and posts is – I try to avoid buying from China but I wasn’t aware of how much food comes from there – gives new impetus to “buy local, grow your own”. Thanks for this info.
People complain about “government regulations” but this sure is an example of the need for government regs – we can rely more (but not totally) on the safety of made in the US products because of those regulations and consumer protections. To the extent that we have been economizing by smaller workforces in both local and state and fed inspection agencies – we risk the same problems here with US produced food etc.

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posted March 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

What is wrong with that country?
Unrestrained capitalism. It takes tax dollars and bigger government to have an effective regulation and enforcement, to have safe food and water. People want it, but don’t want to pay for it.

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Erin Manning

posted March 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

This is one of those absolutely frustrating things about trying to eat a healthy diet on a budget, in an area with limited grocery stores. I’ve learned to look closely at the labels indicating country of origin on vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and tons of other things–but like others have said here, on certain types of canned or bottled products you have no idea where the ingredients are coming from. The choice is often one that involves Chinese produce, South American or other produce, and produce of unknown origin, without a local choice among them.
One thing many people might not be aware of is how much of our frozen produce is coming from countries other than America. That big bag of frozen “organic” green beans at a national club store chain? COE: China. There’s no sanity whatsoever in that sort of thing.
And when you eat out, as many Americans do regularly, you have no idea or control whatsoever in regard to where your food comes from. That “healthy” entree of grilled salmon with spring vegetables might all have arrived here from China.
We live in a nation with an abundant ability to produce food of startling variety; there are few things which can’t be grown, raised or caught somewhere in America. So why are we outsourcing so much of our food production to third world countries with deplorable safety standards, not to mention China which may not be third world but has the same deplorable standards?
We do need laws to protect both the American farmer and the American consumer–this is not “protectionism” but common sense. Mandatory COE information on ALL imported food products would be a start, as would a law forbidding any “Food libel laws” from covering products substantially grown or manufactured in a foreign country. And that’s just for a start.

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posted March 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Food from the US, even that inspected by the USDA can still be lethal. How many tons of beef and other produce are grown, shipped worldwide and then recalled when people start dying of salmonella and e. coli? And at what cost? The only really safe food is the food you raise yourself.

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Kit Stolz

posted March 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm

“What is wrong with that country?”
Well, it might help if they had laws against adding adulterants to products. The don’t. The kind of environmental/consumer safety regulations that we take for granted in this country — such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act — don’t exist in China.
As an environmentalist, it’s a bit frustrating that those on the right-hand side of the spectrum will rail against enviros and their flaws until the cows come home, but never ever credit the movement or the government for regulating for the health and safety of the public, not to mention to preserve wilderness.
But I guess that’s life in the big city.

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Mike Austin,TX

posted March 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Why do you think the prices are so much cheaper there? They have no regulation and even if they did they would not follow them if the can save 1 Yuan. I know. I have lived there. Remember the baby milk issue? This is what Gov’t is for. Impose tariffs so the cost is equal to locally grown food and the better quality wins out. Look it up. That was the intent of tariffs originally. Not allow the cheapest goods into our markets no matter the consequence.

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posted March 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Eat their food and shut up.

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Your Name

posted March 3, 2010 at 10:25 pm

We don’t need to wonder what the post tort reform world looks like; China has shown us the way.

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posted March 4, 2010 at 11:43 am

Perhaps they are conducting a stealth war on us through their toxic products :-) But, seriously, I’ve learned that “365” brand of organic food at Whole Foods is from China, particularly alarming in the frozen foods. Other than executing the occasional scapegoat, China does not appear to be on its way to cleaning up its act, product-safety wise.

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