Thursday, June 28, 2007

LIKE DOPING SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL: Chinese fish imports -- unsurprisingly -- contaminated with fungicides and antibiotics

The FDA banned a number of fish imports from China yesterday, as reported by many newspapers including the Washington Post here.

At this point it become semi-obvious to everyone that if you truly inspect every consumable from China, one has a good chance of finding something ... fishy. However, many importers know Americans will buy anything as long as it seems like they're getting a bargain. Passing off contaminated goods on us is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Call it the result of greed in the global marketplace -- the desire to get something for a price way too good to be true.

One of the Chinese imports banned was catfish. Chinese catfish had been cutting into American catfish sales, obviously -- because it's cheaper. Of course, the catfish is doped with some fungicide that's a carcinogen, or antibiotics, but you don't care about that do you? (Chinese shrimp is very bad news, too.)

It's a rhetorical question. People do care. However, what can be done? The FDA doesn't have the capability to find everything and it must do battle with American importers who are too happy to take dodgy things and push them into the marketplace.

The average person is truly stuck. Who are you going to complain to? Are you to read the news for Chinese food badness every day, log on to FDA.GOV, and keep an updated list of the rotten fish, the bogus toothpastes, the bad petfoods?

If importers and repackagers were compelled immediately to relabel everything from China with a bright yellow banner, many consumers would choose to vote with their wallets and break the sale of Chinese goods until a time when trust had been regained.

But no fish comes with a label, embedded in the ice right next to it in the display case: "This poxy-looking dead thing came from China and it might have probably has something wormy in it; the FDA doesn't have enough people to tell either way. It's cheaper, though, and you'll save some money."

You can take action by moving the battle to your market. Query the grocer when selecting your fish. Tell him you're not interested in imported Chinese food at this time. If he can't tell you where the goods are from, tell him you'll pass on the fish for awhile. Recommend Chinese fish imports get a furlough from the ice and frozen food cases.

Currently, a couple politicians are making indignant noises about Chinese goods. However, so far it's all talk. Chinese poison killed and sickened pets months ago and the same noises were emitted. Then it was back to business as usual.

Make no mistake, your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow informs that refusing anything from China that goes into your mouth is going to be hard. There are too many American trading partners heavily invested in this very bad business and security from contamination driven by consumer-hostile business practices and greed is not possible under the current system.

Eat Zinc! Chinese poison toothpaste for nine cents, cheap! It's only a little poison, five percent.

Browse the fascinating and outraging EAT ZINC archive. Bad food and additives from China, the kind of business guarantee no one wants but can't get rid of.


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