Posted with Commentary from VickiY.
The air quality in China is notoriously bad. Unfortunately, water and soil pollution in the People’s Republic is just as horrendous. Asia may seem like a long way off, but thanks to globalization, contaminated food from China is finding its ways onto supermarket shelves in this country. Why is this happening? What Chinese food products pose a danger? And what can you do to protect your family? Here are some things you need to know.
Food safety is woeful in China
Food production in China is very poorly regulated. In addition, the inspection process is famous for being thoroughly corrupted. As a result, most Chinese citizens have very little confidence in the food they consume.
In fact, U.S. Customs officials frequently reject large batches of foodstuff shipments from China because they contain unhealthy additives, dangerous drug residues or they are simply unsanitary. Nevertheless, contaminated food still gets in.
Water for irrigation is polluted
Food safety experts contend that there are multiple problems with China’s agricultural products. To begin with, industrial-style farming in China is virtually unregulated. As a result, both soil and waterways are heavily contaminated with heavy metals, pesticide residues and industrial waste. That means crops are irrigated with filthy water supplies and grown in toxic soil.
In fact, lakes, rivers and reservoirs are so polluted in China that local farmers complain that the irrigation water they rely on is frequently discolored and black. However, the so-called “dirty water” is all they have available for farming.
Corrupt health officials and mislabeling are additional problems that afflict China’s food industry. Consequently, tainted products are the rule rather than the exception. And fraudulent packaging means no one can trust what they are eating. Here is a list of foods from China to avoid:
Cod and tilapia are two popular kinds of seafood that frequently come from China. In fact, more than half of the cod and tilapia sold in the U.S. are bred and grown in Chinese fish farms. The main problem is that water pollution is endemic. Any fish raised there are probably contaminated by heavy metals like mercury or lead, which pose a significant hazard — particularly to pregnant women.
Factory farming is not only inhumane, it’s also unhealthy. Industrial agricultural practices are even worse in China where viruses like the avian flu are rampant in poultry centers.
3. Apple juice
Recently, the U.S. government lifted restrictions on importing apples from China. America grows more than enough apples to supply all our country’s needs, but now half the apple juice sold in the states comes from China. Several years ago, health officials found antifreeze in juice from China. Even if that problem has been rectified, apples grown in toxic Chinese soil should be suspect.
4. Green peas
Contaminated food is bad enough, but fake food can be even more dangerous. Phony soups, pudding and rice are fairly common in China. Now, a new concoction has hit the marketplace — counterfeit peas. They contain soy, chemicals like metabisulfite and a green dye. Peas from China should be avoided.
Garlic is widely considered one of the healthiest herbs on the planet. It is a natural antibiotic and may have cholesterol-lowering and anti-tumor properties to boot. Unfortunately, garlic originating from China has been found laced with pesticides like methyl bromide. Up to one-third of the garlic on U.S. shelves now comes from China, but it would be wise to insist on garlic grown elsewhere.
More than one-third of all the processed mushrooms consumed in the U.S. come from China. In fact, Chinese mushrooms have raised safety concerns the world over for years. Farmers have a reputation for adding sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde to them to keep them looking fresher than they really are. Unfortunately, Chinese mushrooms are often repackaged in this country, making it difficult for consumers to know what they are eating.
The salt consumed in China is often of the industrial variety. Industrial salt is labeled “unfit for human consumption.” Yet it is much cheaper, which is why 788 tons of it was sold by at least 12 people over the course of 13 years as table salt. The industrial salt can cause mental and physical issues, such as hypothyroid problems and reproductive system disorders.It’s probably inevitable that sodium used to prepare processed food products in China will end up in American bellies too. Source natural, local sea salt or Himalayan pink salt instead.
In Joseph Heller’s novel “Catch-22,” war profiteers doused cotton in chocolate to turn an inedible substance into a “food.” Now, there are reports that China has been exporting a “plastic rice” that is a combination of potato and resin. Real life is sometimes stranger than fiction, but that doesn’t mean we should be consuming it.
9. Organic food
The U.S. and the European Union have standards to certify organic produce meets certain requirements. In China, however, regulations governing organic produce are virtually non-existent. In addition, farmers and inspectors often collude when it comes to misleading labeling in order to circumvent foreign custom inspections. As a result, food originating in China stamped “organic” is likely anything but.
10. Fake Eggs
Some Chinese websites have come out with instructional videos on how to make $70 a day by producing and selling fake eggs. The chemicals that are required are “Alginic Acid, Potassium Alum, Gelatin, Calcium Chloride, water and artificial color.” The eggshells are made from Calcium Carbonate. Eating these eggs may cause memory-loss and dementia.
11. Walnuts stuffed with Cement
In 2012 a man purchased shelled walnuts in Zhengzhou city, China only to find broken concrete pieces inside. The concrete was wrapped in paper to prevent it from making a suspicious noise when the nut was shaken. The vendor who sold the walnuts was trying to gain more profit by selling these fake nuts that were much heavier than the real thing. More photos are shown at this Chinese news site.
12. Making Beef out of Pork
Because pork is less expensive in China, some restaurants have sold it instead of beef – but not before they performed some chemistry on it. What they use are a beef extract and a glazing agent to “marinate” the meat in for 90 minutes. Doctors have advised people to stay away from this fake product as its long-term use may cause “slow poisoning, deformity, and even cancer.”
13. Baby Formula
In 2004, 47 people were accused of producing fake instant baby formula that led to dozens of children dying in Fuyang, China, reported CBS News. The formula contained very few nutrients, was likely made of chalk, and made the children develop a “big head disease,” which made their heads swell and the rest of their bodies slowly deteriorate.
A market vendor in China’s Guangdong Province collected local mud and sold it as black pepper, while their white pepper was mainly made out of flour. His excuse for justifying selling these fake items was that they “would not kill people.” Considering that fake foods in China do not get investigated until someone dies, how many more items are sold made of fake items and chemicals because they “would not kill people.” At least, not immediately.
A facility in Zhongshan city, China made at least 5.5 tons of fake noodles. In 2011, people started complaining that what were supposed to be sweet potato noodles tasted strange. Further investigation led to a revelation that the noodles were composed of corn with an industrial ink used to give them a purple color, and paraffin wax.
16. Fake Ginseng
Ginseng root is a popular medicinal plant, used as a tonic in China for over 3,000 years. According to BON TV, prices for ginseng have increased rapidly, pushing many ginseng retailers to figure out a way to keep making profit. Their solution was to boil the roots in sugar, which makes them much heavier and therefore more profitable. Chinese medicine expert from the National Institute for Food and Drug Control Wei Feng said this is problematic, not only because the retailers are ripping-off the customers, but also because boiling ginseng in sugar might strip it from most of its medicinal values. The test showed that while natural ginseng has 20% content of sugar, this fake one is up to 70% sugar. “It can do little to improve people’s health,” Wei Feng said.
Know where your food comes from
The smog in a major industrial Chinese city is easy to spot. Similarly, ordinary Chinese citizens understand that food safety is a major issue that they live with on a daily basis. In contrast, it can be difficult for consumers in the U.S. to recognize that cod fillets imported from China are in fact contaminated.
Products like phony eggs and fake honey have been rampant in China for years. Indeed, unsafe food is something of a national scandal most Chinese are all too aware of. In fact, a Chinese student has even dedicated a website (http://www.zccw.info/) to expose and document some of the worst abuses. Unfortunately, contaminated food has health consequences. For instance, both food poisoning and gastrointestinal cancer rates are pretty common in China.
Knowing where your food comes from is an important first step in protecting both you and your family. Health and nutritional experts generally agree, locally grown food is usually better for you and the environment. If you’d like to do more, then check out this petition. It’s aimed at keeping Chinese chickens out of school cafeterias and off supermarket shelves.
ALSO, NICK MEYER
Ten Reasons to Buy Local Food
by VERN GRUBINGER
Vermont has a wide variety of farms. While known for our dairy production, there also many farms that raise fruits and vegetables, flowers and herbs, and animal products of all kinds. Our farmers are dedicated to stewardship and committed to quality. And while they love what they do, they aren’t doing it for entertainment. They need to make a living. Consumers that value fresh food and a working landscape should support local farmers by buying their products. Here are ten reasons why.
1) Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products like cheeses and are hand-crafted for best flavor. Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, oversijng quality – unlike animals processed in large industrial facilities.
2) Local food is better for you. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.
3) Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties of crops to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors. Livestock diversity is also higher where there are many small farms rather than few large farms.
4) Local food is safe. There’s a unique kind of assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye at farmers’ market or driving by the fields where your food comes from. Local farmers aren’t anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.
5) Local food supports local families. The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which helps farm families stay on the land.
6) Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.
7) Local food preserves open space. When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they’re less likely to sell farmland for development. When you buy locally grown food, you’re doing something proactive to preserve our working landscape. That landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.
8) Local food keeps taxes down. According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services. Cows don’t go to school, tomatoes don’t dial 911.
9) Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.
10) Local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.
WHAT FIGTREELIVE.COM THINKS
Of course there is no regulation in China! The world may do a lot of business with China; however, it tends to forget that China is a communist nation. Nobody there owns their own business; it is owned by the Chinese government. There is no freedom in China for its people, and no regulation with regard to creating cheap goods for greater government profit, especially with products exported to Europe, America and elsewhere. Some conspiracy theorists, old enough to have been educated knowing what China is and what it espouses, would say that the world is ripe for China to over-power and control through biohazardous foods, medications and other goods. In fact, many of our prescription drugs and/or their components, are made in China.
Remember when name-brand baby formulas with large American corporation names on them were found to contain melamine, a plastic that makes up those cheap plates that do not break? NO? Well, read these articles and think about what you give yourself and family: CHINA CONTAMINATES MILK & FORMULA
What happened to “Be American, Buy American?”
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