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Who's Smarter About Food, China's Consumers or America's?

06/05/2013 6:36 PM

Years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration imposed tariffs on imported Chinese honey because China was dumping cheap, sometimes tainted, honey on the market and threatening the viability of U.S. apiaries. And for years, Chinese producers have gotten around the tariffs by routing honey through other countries, mislabeling it - and while they're at it, watering it down or cutting it with cheap sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup - and covering their tracks by filtering the honey so much that they remove all the pollen, making it almost impossible to track its origins. Studies by a Texas A&M scientist have found that about three-fourths of the honey sold in this country isn't what you think of as honey, though it might be slapped with a label claiming it's a product of the U.S.A. (Just a "taste"... read the rest of the article here. The links are in the original article from the LA Times.)

The FDA is useful sometimes. But even though our food supply seems to be a step above the Chinese system in safety, improvements are always possible -- both by subtraction and addition. What do you like and/or dislike about the food "system" in the US? I would include in that "system" marketing as well as production and regulation.

I also don't know that I've bought food products made in China. I wonder what store shelves they are on in any typical community? Large chains? Do you think it is a much narrower problem than the article implies? It's hard to imagine produce being shipped from China, so I would guess canned and/or processed food to be the most likely affected food products. Most of us remember the pet food debacle several years ago.

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#1

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/05/2013 7:25 PM

You should be more worried by Monsanto's buying Congress and getting them to pass legislation that basically gives them a license to kill people with genetically manipulated food, without fear of any of prosecution.

Don't believe me? Google Monsanto protection act.

This vile miscarriage or justice is far more deadly than Chinese food.

No fear of prosecution, no matter what.

Sorry for the rant, but it's true.

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#2
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Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/05/2013 7:51 PM

This is totally untrue.....it only allows continued planting and harvesting of any crops that activists are attacking legislatively instead of scientifically, while the claims of these nuts are being investigated...It protects only the farmers who would through no fault of their own, lose an entire crop because of uninformed do-gooders that have been driven into a tizzy by the organic growers cabal, and are filing injunctions willy nilly like they have no other consequences than saving the world.....morons

Here's a Snopes report...

http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/mpa.asp

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/05/2013 10:06 PM

Lyn,

I am surprised that you would be one of the people spreading this type of untruth.

When I read your comments (if they are serious) I assume that when statements are made as fact, that at least some cursory research has been done into the validity.

This is disappointing.

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#7
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Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/05/2013 10:44 PM

I will revisit the sources when I get back home.

My ire comes from people who would ha e us believe that Monsanto is doing this "for the good of mankind and not pure profit.

I have relatives who farm and their opinion of Monsanto, and their practices is not favorable.

I'll be happy to eat crow, if their motivations are noble.

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#14
In reply to #7

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 5:48 PM

The point of contention is not whether or not Monsanto's motivations are noble. I was not objecting to you saying 'Monsanto's motivation's are not noble'.

.

I am objecting to:

'... legislation that basically gives them a license to kill people with genetically manipulated food, without fear of any of prosecution....'

.

I am objecting to that because it is not true.

I am emphatically objecting to it because it came from you. I may not agree with everything you say, but typically when I have read something you have stated as fact I have been fairly comfortable it was not wild ass conjecture or parroting of an unverified inflammatory claim.

.

If you are concerned about GMO and Monsanto, spreading claims like this which will later be falsified, does not help your cause.

If you doing this to discredit those concerned about GMO and Monsanto, then your tactics are not noble.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 6:10 PM

Well,

That was a gross exaggeration of the facts and I admit it.

Poor choice of words brought on by too much celebrating.

My apologies.

However, the fact remains that Monsanto is able to manipulate laws to their financial advantage.

I still believe in honesty and ethics, which apparently have no place in business and politics these days.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 6:39 PM

Thank you.

.

'...I still believe in honesty and ethics, which apparently have no place in business and politics these days....'

.

This is one of the reasons that the transition of natural people to second class citizens (consider taxation, ability to contribute to political campaigns, and access to limited liability) is so tragic. Not only should corporations not be given personage in the form of citizenry with superior rights, corporations with their inherent lack of honesty and ethics should not be considered citizens or even persons at all.

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#17
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Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 6:54 PM

II lost all respect for the"Supreme" Court after they let giant corporations make political contributions.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 7:02 PM

I'd support 10 year terms for Supreme Court Justices.

As an alternative, I might be willing to consider some sort of hunting season on Justices..... perhaps something similar to what they do with wild boars... where for a few days early in the season boars are caught by dogs, castrated in the field, and released, so that if they are later shot, the meat isn't so gamey.

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#19
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Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 7:07 PM
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#20
In reply to #15

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 9:04 PM

Never has and will never have. There is an incompatibility between politics and honesty or ethics which ever is said by politicians.

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#9
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Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 12:20 AM

Better check around the world.

Google Avaaz.org

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#21
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Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 10:38 PM

I have checked. In fact I read the actual bill. Why would I need to read someone's opinion about what is contained in the bill when I can simply read the bill myself.

.

Have you read the bill? If you feel like I need to 'check around the world' to better understand whether or not what was in the bill was being misrepresented, then I know that you have not read the bill.

.

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#8
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Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 12:18 AM

Why labeling this non- topic? It is happening and the entire world is protesting.

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#3

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/05/2013 8:39 PM

The U.S. have a number of governmental programs for food safety.

FDA is only one of the, other programs is USDA, 3A, as well as individual state programs, such as CDFA (Calfifornia), WDA (Wisconsin).

The problem is with all these governmental departments is that they each have their own sanitary or safety criteria, that can directly conflict with the other departments, or even their own.

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#5
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Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/05/2013 9:25 PM

Yes. But I'm not sure that would explain why these products end up on shelves. Is it by inspection or are they overlooked due to a lack of resources necessary to inspect imported foods? With conflicting criteria, I would actually expect that to make it harder for these products to reach store shelves.

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#4

Re: Who's smarter about food, China's consumers or America's?

06/05/2013 9:21 PM

I'll place this reaction in the main thread to the first 2 comments, rather than underneath either one.

I am no fan of Monsanto. Choosing this article as a concern doesn't reflect a lack of concern about issues connected with GMOs, etc. Food from Chinese sources can/should also be a concern on it's own merits. Maybe not as great. But a number of people lost pets dear to them with the tainted pet food. And if you've ever owned pets, they can feel like family members. A "premature" death is bitter -- especially when the cause becomes known, and could have been prevented. It was due to the same lack of regulation mentioned in the article.

I looked at the legislation link. To me, it isn't any more preferential to big business than many bills have been. It is a common view that much legislation is drafted with a lot of help from companies affected by it. I'm puzzled as to the 6 month "lifetime." That isn't explained in the article. Was it only to kick the can down the road? Or to allow time for another, more permanent route? One can only guess.

It seems subjects like this can't be separated out from politics. That is fine, in my view. I would just hope any comments it precipitates would be kept as civil as possible. (I realize the emotions about any number of political subjects can easily go from ignition to a raging fire.)

Regarding political power in the U.S., we have been much closer to an oligarchy for decades, than we have to a true democracy. Career lobbying and corporate power have made it so. In looking for an answer to the 6-month question, one blog I came across referred to the provision being "buried" in the legislation. In fact, it is Section 735 on pages 34-35 of a total of 240 pages. That's not exactly buried.

I have argued for most of my adult life to limit bills to what I term, single-issue legislation. A look at HR933's contents page reveals the wide range of "issues" and appropriations that, to me, does make voting intent vague on any one of the included subjects. Grouping issues/subjects by something better than whether or not it is a funding/appropriation could bring some order and sense to the whole process. It would allow voters to know better how their representatives stand on a particular issue (appropriation). Since compromise is part of this "put it all together in one pot" attitude, we can't really say which ones were "gimmes" on the part of one congressman to get something he cared more about, but might not have voted for as a single appropriation. That is why it "seems" buried. That, and the fact that in a mostly appropriations bill it isn't an appropriation. Such "pot luck" legislation, also, encourages bending principles for selfish motives. (Like getting re-elected, for one.) The topics are too unrelated except for money as a common denominator, for my taste. Principled decisions should stand alone as either in line with constituents principles or not; not for future campaign funds from large donors. Figuring out what principles guided anyone's vote is much harder to decipher on a bill like this. Anyone who thinks that campaign money and support isn't a major, if not the primary, force in most legislative processes is naive... or maybe I'm just too jaded at my age.

The contents headings are as follows:

SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the ''Consolidated and
Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013''.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SEC. 2. The table of contents of this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title.
Sec. 2. Table of contents.
Sec. 3. References.
Sec. 4. Explanatory statement.
Sec. 5. Availability of funds.
DIVISION A-AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG
ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2013
Title I-Agricultural Programs
Title II-Conservation Programs
Title III-Rural Development Programs
Title IV-Domestic Food Programs
Title V-Foreign Assistance and Related Programs
Title VI-Related Agency and Food and Drug Administration
Title VII-General provisions
DIVISION B-COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES
APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2013
Title I-Department of Commerce
Title II-Department of Justice
Title III-Science
Title IV-Related agencies
Title V-General provisions
DIVISION C-DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2013
Title I-Military Personnel
Title II-Operation and Maintenance
Title III-Procurement
Title IV-Research, Development, Test and Evaluation
Title V-Revolving and Management Funds
Title VI-Other Department of Defense Programs
Title VII-Related agencies
Title VIII-General provisions
Title IX-Overseas contingency operations
DIVISION D-DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS
ACT, 2013
Title I-Departmental management and operations Title II-Security, enforcement, and investigations
Title III-Protection, preparedness, response, and recovery
Title IV-Research and development, training, and services
Title V-General provisions
DIVISION E-MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND
RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2013
Title I-Department of Defense
Title II-Department of Veterans Affairs
Title III-Related agencies
Title IV-Overseas contingency operations
Title V-General provisions
DIVISION F-FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2013
Title I-General Provisions
Title II-Energy and Water Development
Title III-Financial Services and General Government
Title IV-Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Title V-Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
Title VI-Legislative Branch
Title VII-Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Title VIII-Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related
Agencies

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#10

Re: Who's Smarter About Food, China's Consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 11:51 AM

As fate would have it, whether there is anything to the "Monstanto Protection Act," comedian, Stephen Colbert made hay with it last night on his show, The Colbert Report. The link to that section of the show is here for anyone interested. Oddly, the full segment, which included an interview, was divided into 2 segments. The concluding segment is here. ("Absorbed" the genes??) I'm not sure how long they keep clips available.

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#11
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Re: Who's Smarter About Food, China's Consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 1:16 PM

Hilarious....Just as an aside, the wheat has an added segment of genetic code that was taken from existing plants that have a naturally occurring resistance to Roundup...It seems a lot of weeds or plants can develop resistance to roundup with continued exposure, that is why usage of this excellent weed controller is carefully applied in measured quantities at varying times in varying concentrations, or it becomes ineffective....

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Who's Smarter About Food, China's Consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 2:14 PM

Superweeds, reminiscent of bacterial response to antibiotics. As another aside, that's why I think ascorbic acid is a better approach for controlling infectious diseases by raising immunity levels across the board, helping to minimize the use of antibiotics, which can lead to "superbugs." We will never "defeat" nature, but we might do better in the long run.

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#12

Re: Who's Smarter About Food, China's Consumers or America's?

06/06/2013 2:04 PM

Returning to the article topic, I should have referenced my comment about the pet food contamination incident. There is a Wiki article about it. It is, likely, way more than anyone would expect to have been written about it or be interested in enough to read. (A case of public ADD?) The number of sections in the article is a testament to how far the ripple effect can reach in food supply incidents. (See scrambling in next paragraph.) E. Coli incidents with spinach, also come to mind.

I'm surprised at the opinion attributed to the Chinese people in the article, as, I've usually felt, the best time to become a customer of an industry (airline "accidents" and restaurant health violations come to mind) involving transgressions, with a high profile reaction in media, is after the incident(s). Industries do scramble pretty fast to try to do damage control and clean up their act when bad PR hits the fan. I have been reading (albeit, slowly) a book entitled, "Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care." When threatened with making procedural outcomes of hospitals available to the public, hospital administrators suddenly get more concerned and involved to improve the poor ratings of their hospital. Since, this helpful information is still, largely, not available to the public, one's imagination will, naturally, indulge in negative conclusions. Hopefully, that is changing. Hospitals could be another thread. Going in the hospital is scary because most people have had bad experiences at one time or another during their, or a family member's stay. Negligence and mistakes happen way too commonly. If Chinese citizens still have a poor opinion of their food supply, it may indicate the Chinese government has only made a superficial response in food safety, despite the protein contamination incident.

These thoughts remind me of how the VA hospital exposé a few years ago should have led to improvements across the board. As it is, criticisms persist, in particular with Iraqi War veterans, many of whom are having to wait months for claims to be processed. That may get worse before it gets better. Issues remain.

Imported food contamination becomes visible when incidents happen, (Ex. 1, 2, etc) but, seemingly due to public ADD, concern gets submerged again in the latest focus of the 24/7 TV news media. That part of the information age is disconcerting. I think it contributes to public numbness. We become so overwhelmed with "issues" to address and/or correct, with focus changing almost daily, that we end up doing little to nothing on any one of them.

From the article linked at "1":

Food safety experts stress that it's almost impossible to sort out whether the thousands of smaller food-linked disease outbreaks that occur each year in the United States are attributable to domestic or imported product. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 76 million cases of food-related illness are reported in the United States each year, including 5,000 deaths. [My bolding.]

76 million cases can add up to substantial lost employee hours for business. 5,000 deaths seems statistically small, but if any one of us happens to end up as one of the stats, not so good. Statistics can also promote apathy.

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#22

Re: Who's Smarter About Food, China's Consumers or America's?

06/07/2013 12:40 AM

I will not knowingly eat any food imported from China. There have been too many reports of lead, melamine, chromium, etc., in Chinese food products and toys.

I have a friend who was going to visit China not long ago, and he asked his Chinese hosts if there was anything he could bring them from the US. They said, "Milk." It seems that prices of milk in Europe are now being affected by the Chinese demand for Western milk for their children, because anyone in China who can afford to buy it from the West will do so.

I heard a documentary on the radio in which a rice farmer was interviewed about his complaints to the government about a huge pile of industrial waste filled with chromium that a company left near his farm. One child got sick and died from a disease directly due to the contamination, and he now has huge medical bills for treatments that had no effect. Eventually the company removed the waste, but the land and his rice crop are still contaminated. His second son is now sick of the same illness. Nobody in his family eats the rice he grows, but he has no way of supporting himself except by growing rice, so he sells it in other towns where they don't know about the poison. Some food scandal far away in the US is not going to affect his ability to support himself, nor remove the chromium from his crop.

So I trust the Chinese when they say "Eat American!"

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#23
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Re: Who's Smarter About Food, China's Consumers or America's?

06/07/2013 11:51 AM

Some stories. Thanks!

It seems the Chinese demand for many things is affecting their prices. Toxic waste dumping is also a horrid event that people affected, suffer, almost in silence. We would be enraged about these events, more, if we only knew about them. I think many happen with little, or no reporting.

When posts bring up similar subjects, I just naturally start wondering... So I started looking at how many stories of toxic "dumping" showed up with a web search. Wal-mart has become a favorite whipping boy for media. And they seem to have a knack for accommodating those who would look for transgressions. It always disturbs me when I see how long these cases take to resolve -- 10 years in this one. That just shouldn't be. Deep pockets are part of that problem. And there are more reported stories than I would have guessed. Some interesting headlines there, most of which would, no doubt, not be pleasant reading. One that caught my eye, touches me, being a native Texan, at our willingness to sacrifice for the rest of the country. (Odd, too, since many here have wanted to secede for a long time; since I was a kid. But then, that's not a threat -- and it would probably delight some other states -- exclusive to Texas.)

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