Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Made in China

Remember when it seemed every brand of pet food was being recalled? Or when children's toys were removed from shelves due to lead content? Or when the FDA alerted us to DDT-laced seafood? Ok, I don't remember that last one, but it did happen.

All of these products came from China, and Mother Jones has an informative story looking at the numerous recalls and what the United States has done (or hasn't done) to ensure they don't happen again.

The story concludes ominously: "If anything, the Bush White House has put Americans at greater risk." It says that the Bush Administration is more interested in trade than in the safety of products.

Consistent with that agenda, the White House Office of Management and Budget, normally slow on regulatory matters, took all of one day to green-light US imports of Chinese-processed chicken in April 2006. "We are trying to open up our beef trade with China," says [Tony Corbo of the consumer group Food & Water Watch]. "The Chinese always say that they want the US to import Chinese poultry in exchange for US beef."

The decision came despite unsettling findings by the USDA team that had visited the Chinese poultry facilities two years earlier. At one plant, inspectors had found paint from the ceiling "on the table used for edible product," while workers at another facility wiped down meat-handling areas with dirty cloths. Parts of a third factory, designated for sanitary operations, were contaminated with "grease, blood, fat, pieces of dry meat, and foreign particles."
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