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Safety of Chinese Food Imports


Kouign Aman
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Apparently, the Chinese Gov't has recently rejected several shipments from the US, citing chemical, bacterial and insect contamination.

While US investigation into the issues is just getting started, there is some possibility its tit-for-tat politics.

One thing that would go far to settle the question is access to the Chinese test results and sampling plans/procedures. Failure to provide that data would strongly suggest the Chinese are more interested in embarrassing the US than in solving the problems claimed. Providing the data would make it much easier to confirm and to prevent future occurences.

Chinese refuse shipment of US products as contaminated

Apparently the Chinese are also finding problems internally, so the US-issues may also be related to recent increases in testing stringency.

Unsafe Chilli (sic) products in China

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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  • 1 year later...

This article arrived in my email today and I am seriously disturbed by the information.

Chinese food imports not as safe as our government says.

I no longer purchase any food item that originates in China.

I know people, including a family member, who have had serious illnesses, at least one life-threatening, from food products produced in China and containing ingredients not listed on the labels.

Our government seems determined to force feed (sic) the US consumer with imported products that have little or no safety restrictions.

Having the Chinese test the products they want to unload in the US seems to me to be an exercise in futility.

I am interested in the opinion of others.

Incidentally, I am currently in Albuquerque, sitting in one end of a large conference room with a bunch of aerospace technogeeks having a totally (to me) incomprehensible discussion at the other end of the room.

I have agreed to dine with them but who knows when that will be. Apparently they are used to living on vast amounts of coffee and snacks.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Andie,

I couldn't agree with you more. I began having qualms about Chinese "QC/QA" (note the parentheses........) last year after the pet food wheat gluten-melamine contamination problems. I work, and have worked, in the regulatory affairs/quality assurance field for drugs and medical devices for over 30 years, and I know my way around the regulations, the regulatory agencies and the press releases. Much moreso than the average person.

When I read what was going on with the deliberate spiking of the wheat gluten with melamine, I realized we, as an importing nation, were in serious trouble. I sort of thought it wouldn't be too bad, because......well........"it's *just* pet food". Not that *I* thought that way, but I realized the regulators and many consumers did. The first thing I did when I realized the scope of the pet food contamination was thow out everything in my cupboards that was destined for my 2 dogs that contained wheat gluten. Then I vowed never to purchase anything, anything, ever again, that I would feed them that had this ingredient. Of course, I also realize its a Band-Aid. We, as consumers, have absolutely no way of knowing where the ingredients in pet foods are coming from.

Then the heparin (a blood-thining drug) recalls hit earlier this year. Most of you are probably not aware of this, unless you're an FDA-geek like I am. In a nutshell, bulk heparin sodium is imported from China, and formulated by US pharamaceutical manufacturers into finished dosage forms. The heparin sodium is the active ingredient in the drug. The Chinese heparin that caused the problems was contaminated with an impurity which caused it to be super-potent. It could not be detected on normal testing. So, if you were given a dose of a heparin injection (quite common in surgical procedures, if you have a problem with too much blood clotting, or if you have an infusion port for chemotherapy), you could potentially bleed to death internally because of the potency problem. This recall affected 10s of very large, *VERY* well know pharmaceutical manufacturers. The jury is still out on whether the contamination in these cases was deliberate, as was the melamine in the wheat gluten, or accidental.

To drag this back to topic.........I do not believe that the quality assurance/quality control regimens in any product produced in China is up to the standards we expect to be applied to products sold in the US. FDA's capabilities (and leadership.....) are woefully inadequate to assure the standards we have achieved in the past (witness the latest Salmonella saintpaul outbreak in Mexican peppers, which was tomatoes......no.......cilantro......no peppers, yeah, that's it, peppers !). For 6 weeks they couldn't figure out what was making Americans sick !

I'm with you. I now scrutinize everything I buy, for human or pet consumption, with a literal magnifying glass, and if I have any doubt whatsoever about the origin of any ingredient, back on the shelf it goes.

Unfortunately, as I said, we have no way of knowing where a lot of the "incidental" ingredients originate from, and even a lot of the "key" ingredients. We need to start demanding labeling that gives us this information so we can make informed decisions.

I'll get down off my soapbox now............. :wink:

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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  • 1 month later...

I agree. I emptied my pantry and refrigerator of all Chinese made products , maybe a year ago?

There will never be another in my home.

Just yesterday I had someone I speak with frequently through work but have never met, tell me how she lost her beloved pet due to the tainted pet food. You say Chinese, and she goes thermonuclear.

And yesterday on the net, I read about the new allowable levels of melamine in milk that China will now allow.

MELAMINE IN MILK? AND THEY WILL ALLOW IT AT CERTAIN LEVELS?

My God !

If it's Chinese, keep it away from me. Forever.

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And yesterday on the net, I read about the new allowable levels of melamine in milk that China will now  allow.

MELAMINE IN MILK?  AND THEY WILL ALLOW IT AT CERTAIN LEVELS?

My God !

If it's Chinese, keep it away from me. Forever.

Other countries also have guidelines regarding "safe" levels of melamine in food products. From theage.com.au

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration says its experts have concluded that eating 2.5 parts per million of melamine - a minuscule amount - would not raise health risks, even if a person ate food every day that contained it.

Guidelines in Hong Kong and New Zealand say melamine in food products is considered safe at 2.5 parts per million or less, though Hong Kong has lowered the level for children under three and pregnant or lactating women to one part per million.

I guess you'll be boycotting products from those countries, as well?

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As I have understood it, some level of this MELOMINE is acceptable by the various governments. What I don't understand is how it could be introduced to the food stream and why.

Yes it apparently causes the readings for protein count or low carb count or some such to read higher but for what reason other than to cheat people of money, why.

Then, world wide, we need a method of punishment. May I suggest death? I suggest the same as they offer my children.

Robert

Seattle

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