Chinese roulette
0 comment Tuesday, May 27, 2014 |
Today's Lou Dobbs segment on unsafe products, particularly foods, from China, was disturbing, even for those who have no illusions about the standards for food and other products in Third World countries.
The United States is increasingly relying on other nations for its food supply, including communist China. China's food and agricultural injury has an absolutely appalling track record for safety and quality. But that hasn't inspired any American oversight or concern.
In fact, as Kitty Pilgrim reports, that track record could have a devastating impact on Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The United States is importing tons of food and food additives from China. Imports of Chinese food and agricultural products have soared 400 percent in the last 15 years. Nobody knows how much of it is safe.
MICHAEL DOYLE, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY: In China, a lot of small farmers that use lots of antibiotics and pesticides that in some instances are not approved for use in the United States. So there's lots of possibilities where things can go wrong.
PILGRIM: The Chinese themselves suffer from contaminated food and water. The U.N. estimates 300 million Chinese every year suffer food poisoning.
Sometimes, it's substandard sanitation, such as the 100 restaurant goers hospitalized after eating bad snails. Sometimes deliberate fraud. A Chinese company was caught making lard from sewage. Farmers were caught adding cancer-causing dye to duck feed to enhance the eggs.
Pollution from industrial production or toxic accidents find their way into the water and subsequently into the food chain in China. Some of that food may be shipped to the United States. Almost all of it, untested and uninspected.
MICHAEL TAYLOR, FORMER FDA OFFICIAL: No amount of inspection is going to be sufficient if we don't have confidence in the conditions under which food is proud, wherever it's produced in the world.
PILGRIM: A look at the FDA violation code lists sanitary citations on imports from China. One entry reads, "A cosmetic product may have been prepared or packed under unsanitary conditions whereby it may have been contaminated with filth."
A food import reads, "The article consists, in whole or in part, of a filthy, putrid or decomposed substance, unfit for food."
Or another, "The article appears to contain hepatitis A virus."
PILGRIM: A congressional hearing this week on the pet food poisoning revealed U.S. importers often don't test the products they import from China. And 99 percent of them go unscreened by the U.S. government and authorities until a consumer gets sick. No one is aware of the problem, Lou.
DOBBS: I just have to stay astonishing. The idea that the federal government continues to -- as our food imports now are rising to just about a little over 20 percent of our total food supply.
The FDA doing almost nothing -- I think 1 percent would be almost nothing -- to inspect the safety of what people are consuming in this country. And there's a great -- you know, hullabaloo about pet food as there should be. But the idea no one is examining this issue. PILGRIM: You know, to read down the list of what they caught is almost scarier, because 99 percent of it wasn't inspected. So you wonder what they didn't catch.
DOBBS: Exactly. And I'm certainly glad -- it's very reassuring after you point that out, Kitty. Thanks very much. Kitty Pilgrim.
Somebody in Washington, wake up, please!
I was really taken aback by this part of Kitty Pilgrim's report:
A look at the FDA violation code lists sanitary citations on imports from China. One entry reads, "A cosmetic product may have been prepared or packed under unsanitary conditions whereby it may have been contaminated with filth."
A food import reads, "The article consists, in whole or in part, of a filthy, putrid or decomposed substance, unfit for food."
Or another, "The article appears to contain hepatitis A virus."
And lard made from sewage? That surpassed anything I might have imagined about the low trustworthiness of products made in China. Beyond disgusting. And to think most of the stuff we import from them goes uninspected.
One hardly knows where to begin: Lou Dobbs concluded his remarks on this segment by pleading for 'somebody in Washington' to 'wake up!' But are they asleep in Washington? Are they so massively clueless and inept and useless that they really are not aware of these things? If so, then they have no business governing anyone or 'representing' us. If, however, they are aware of how things are done in China, and of the general prevalence of squalid Third World standards and lack of oversight, and yet they still avidly push importing more and more from China, then they are more than derelict; the obvious conclusion would be that they do not care about American citizens, about our health and our safety.
I suppose that is not exactly a novel conclusion; the same situation prevails with our insane open borders policy, with its allowing of tens of millions of unknown people entering our country freely, with essentially the full blessing and encouragement of 'our' government. Our government occasionally stages a token raid or two here and there; it seems to be simply a way to deflect criticism or to fool the easily satisfied into believing that they are 'cracking down' on the invasion. But it's a transparent effort; as long as our president keeps praising the invaders and pushing his amnesty in the face of the American people's opposition to it, it seems evident that our government is representing somebody other than the American majority. And given the demonstrable danger of letting unknown millions from hostile Third World countries enter freely, it seems that our lives and safety are counted cheap; a good and honest government would protect its citizens from invasion, per the Constitution. But it seems that our government is so determined to push the borderless world, the flat earth, and to remove all barriers to free trade and movement of peoples, and those ideological goals trump all else, even the lives of citizens. Our lives and safety are apparently something they are willing to risk in pursuit of their goals.
So what is there for us to do, apart from joining Lou Dobbs in his plaintive call for someone in Washington to 'wake up'? I am rapidly losing faith in letter-writing or calls to my representatives in Congress; more often than not, one gets a snarky aide, and it's not certain that these people actually pass the messages on. Knowing the leftist leanings of my elected 'representatives' and the kinds of condescending canned e-mails I usually get back does not inspire confidence.
What then can we do? It seems vain to try to get people to stop buying the cheapo Chinese merchandise; many people, especially Republicans, worship at the Wal-Mart altar; their fierce defense of Wally World is bizarre. I haven't quite figured out why so many Republicans react to criticism of Wal-Mart as they would react to an attack on the character of their mother. The nearest I can come to an explanation is that: cheap consumer products are the highest good in life to some people, and maybe more importantly, the 'liberals' hate Wal-Mart, so by gosh, Republicans are determined to love Wal-Mart and defend it with their last breath.
(And by the way: what do we make of this strange Wal-Mart story?)
But no doubt the Wal-Martians are one of the reasons why we have this huge trade deficit with China.
I admit to having bought at Wal-Mart in the past, but often the things I bought were of shoddy, inferior quality, and the few bucks I saved did not balance out having to replace the items when they failed or fell apart, a few months later. Buying at Wal-Mart is being penny-wise and pound-foolish. And it also enriches our Chinese foes and weakens us in relation to them, as the trade deficit grows and grows.
Still to each his own; buy cheap junk if you must, and if you don't care about the larger issues at stake. But on the question of food safety, and of other products like cosmetics which are applied to the human body, there should be no disagreement about the need for assurance that these products are safe and sanitary. We need to know that the food products are not laden with some kind of toxin like the melamine in the wheat gluten, or that they are not otherwise unfit for human consumption. But how can we expect such a reassurance? China recently thwarted the entrance of our FDA inspectors into their country to inspect the sources of the contamination. Our government is engaged in some kind of bizarre pretense that China is a friendly nation, and that they are our coequals. Ridiculous; just because they are a populous nation with a large military does not mean that they are trustworthy, or that the standards of hygiene are anywhere near what we have achieved here in the U.S. All this open trade and immigration from Third World countries is done at our risk. We are opening the doors to Third World standards, which will inevitably mean the spread of disease and contamination. Openness to other such nations, whether via trade or immigration, can only benefit them and not us; it can only drag us downward, but probably not raise them upward. Openness to such nations is a risk to us, not a benefit. It may be a benefit to the corporate globalists who profit from all this, but it is no bargain for common citizens.
Now there are questions that the melamine which caused many pet deaths may have entered the human food chain
via being fed to farm animals destined for the table. It was inevitable, really; that was my first thought when the discovery of the toxins in pet food was reported. But I am not seeing much coverage of this issue, and little discussion of it. Why? Are people not aware, or are we too practiced at hiding our heads in the sand? So many people prefer to plug their ears and close their eyes rather than deal with unpleasant realities, especially if those realities call for some kind of action, or even for taking a difficult stand.
I am not sure what we can do about this, except to be very vigilant about the products we buy, especially foods and cosmetics. Reading labels is a first step, but one has to be able to trust that the labels are correct and truthful; I honestly don't trust corrupt Third World countries to provide full disclosure on the labels, and it appears that they are not even required to do so, as American companies are. And again, even if the information on the packaging lists the ingredients, for example, 'wheat gluten,' this does not tell us where the wheat gluten originated. The pet foods recalled were made in Canada. Most of us would make an assumption that products from a First World nation like Canada would adhere to standards comparable to our own, but it appears we cannot even be sure that Canadian products are not made using ingredients from an unsafe country. So how can we be really sure? We can pick locally-produced food as much as possible, and some of us can grow our own produce in gardens. We can use fewer canned and processed foods, which is no doubt a good idea in general. But at some point, we have to take a blind leap of faith about the source of what we eat; we might be able to reduce our risks somewhat, but not eliminate them.
Now it's true that life is risk; there is no way we can live one day in this world without taking risks of some sort. To assume that we can make life risk-free is childish, and it's what liberals believe, with their penchant for nannystate-ism, with laws against trans-fats and so on. But still, our foolhardy government is seemingly tempting fate with many of these reckless policies like untrammeled trade with suspect countries, and with our borders unguarded, and our actively soliciting immigrants from disease-ridden areas of the world.
We can't eliminate all risks, but resigning ourselves to unnecessary risks is playing Russian roulette, with the bullet provided courtesy of our government and its foolish policies.

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