When I first read and heard about reports of tainted pet food from China and then toothpaste as well, I had a sinking feeling that there would be more to come. I have nothing against China as such but I this whole rush for making them our supplier for everything we consume, because it is cheap was bound to come up against the harsh reality. Food safety laws are lax in China.
This is news to some maybe. But food safety laws often are lax in a lot of parts of the world especially in the developing world and other poor nations (not to mention corruption that makes enforcement harder). The efficiencies that accrue from having one global supplier of farmed fish, tooth paste and other consumables do help with the bottom line. But it also increases the risk of something like this snowballing when the controls and regulations that are meant to assure food safety and quality are lax to nonexistent.
So now the Chinese authorities scramble to get their act together, look at some of the stuff that is going on there. From the NY Times link, and if you want take a listen to the story from NPR here.
SHANGHAI, June 27 — After weeks of insisting that food here is largely safe,
regulators in China said Tuesday that they had recently closed 180 food
and that inspectors had uncovered more than 23,000 food safety
“These are not isolated cases,” Han Yi, director of the
administration’s quality control and inspection department, told the state-run
media. China Daily, the nation’s English-language newspaper, said industrial
chemicals not intended for use in foods had been found in products as diverse as
candy, pickles and seafood. Among the substances were dyes, mineral oils,
paraffin, formaldehyde and malachite green, a chemical primarily used as a dye
but also used as a topical antiseptic or treatment for parasites and infections
You can read the whole article if you are interested.
We are very wary about eating farmed fish, including ones raised in the US. While they may be sure that they are not raising fish that are feeding on its own waste what about the food that the fish consume? It could surely be from a source that could not be vouched for right?
A few weeks back we tried to get some Tilapia (or other kind of fish if we did nto find it) and you can imagine our surprise when almost all the fish that we wanted to buy was farmed in China. *A* very rightly insisted on not buying it.
With these latest reports I am even more convinced that I don’t want to buy fish raised in China or some place that can’t guarantee it’s safety.
This also brought to my mind memories of why I stopped eating greens when I was in India. For the longest time greens (Spinach etc) used to be trucked in to Bombay from farms outside the city. Then suddenly I started noticing plots of land next to the commuter rail lines in Bombay planted with greens. The irrigation source? Water from open canals or drains that often ran next to the tracks which often were contaminated with sewage. You can tell how quickly I stopped eating greens!
My folks made the mistake of eating some brought from the vegetable market some months back. They usually buy things from vendors who they can trust, but that was not the case this time. Mom came down with a very bad stomach virus that needed her to be hospitalized.
Not to say this won’t happen here, we know about the recent Spinach scare. I guess the industrialization of food and sourcing from countries with lax food and drug enforcement plays a hug role.
I guess when we can be in a food coop, buying locally and from sources we can trust is the way to go.
No large point to this, just my rant of the day.