Friday, April 13, 2007

Made in China--To Kill; China Is Our Friend, Part 6458

It ain't just your pupsy-wupsy's food:

The list of Chinese food exports rejected at American ports reads like a chef's nightmare: pesticide-laden pea pods, drug-laced catfish, filthy plums and crawfish contaminated with salmonella.

Of course, that list is only what inspectors found--

Small farms ship to market with little documentation. Testing of the safety and purity of farm products such as milk is often haphazard, hampered by fuzzy lines of authority among regulators. Only about 6 percent of agricultural products were considered pollution-free in 2005, while safer, better quality food officially stamped as "green" accounts for 1 percent of the total, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wanna bite? Try some of these:

Over the past 25 years, Chinese agricultural exports to the U.S. surged nearly 20 times to $2.26 billion last year, led by poultry products, sausage casings, shellfish, spices and apple juice.

Inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are able to inspect only a tiny percentage of the millions of shipments that enter the U.S. each year.

Even so, shipments from China were rejected at the rate of about 200 per month this year, the largest from any country, compared with about 18 for Thailand, and 35 for Italy, also big exporters to the U.S., according to data posted on the FDA's Web site.

There might be an opportunity for restaurants and groceries who can accurately claim that all their food is "100% American-Made or Processed."

But then--it might be a bit more expensive, unless you take into account the cost of a few days' hospitalization.

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