How much free trade can a nation afford? A case in point:China denies role in U.S. pet deaths
"China has nothing to do with the pet poisoning in the United States," said a report in the official newspaper of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, which monitors the export of food, animals and farm products.
The China Inspection and Quarantine Times said in a report on its Web site dated Tuesday that as of March 29, 2007 China had "never exported wheat or wheat gluten to ... the United States."
Keep in mind this is the statement of a government-run publication.
This contradicted comments by two employees at the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., this week who said the company had shipped wheat gluten to the United States.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has identified Xuzhou Anying as the supplier of the tainted gluten.
The Chinese firm exports about 10,000 tons of wheat gluten each year, but we are given the assurance in the article that only 873 tons (that's about 1.7 million pounds of wheat) wind up in the United States.
The FDA is not responding to the New York state lab that reported finding a deadly poison, aminopterin, in the pet food it examined, and for the moment is sticking with its finding that a chemical known as melamine, used in the production of plastics and pesticides, was in the gluten shipment.The FDA is also sticking to 15 as the number of official pet deaths. That seems to be contradicted by others in positions of authority.
Emilio DeBess, Oregon's state public health veterinarian, said he had tallied altogether 106 cases of poisoning believed arising from pet food, far more than federal health authorities had reported in the three-week old scandal.Moral of this story?
It is obvious you cannot trust government officials, whether in Red China or the U.S. of A., to speak the truth. Motivations may differ, naturally, but the inherent knee-jerk reaction of bureaucrats in any system is to delay, dissemble and obfuscate.
Did the tainted wheat gluten go into anything other than pet food? The FDA said it was possible.
ROCKVILLE, Maryland: The tainted wheat gluten that triggered a massive pet food recall also ended up in processing plants that prepare food consumed by people, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
While agency leaders offered assurances Monday that the U.S. food supply remains safe, they said they cannot yet completely rule out contamination of human food by the suspect wheat gluten, which contained melamine, a chemical found in plastics and pesticides.
According to import records, the wheat gluten was shipped to the United States from China between Nov. 3 and Jan. 23 and contained "minimal labeling" to indicate whether it was intended for humans or animals.
The vast majority of the contaminated gluten went to pet food manufacturers and distributors, according to the agency. But some of the processing plants that remain under agency scrutiny make both human and pet food.
By the way, this last report was filed by The Boston Globe but was not widely picked up by the Drive-by Media.
Whether or not the poison is in the human food chain, this crisis has revealed to those who have their eyes open a huge, gaping hole in our national security. Forty years ago we surrendered our energy independence in favor of cheap oil from the Mideast. Today we have surrendered our nutritional independence for relatively cheap food imports from the Third World (and yes, that includes China). Our corporate, trans-national agri-business buddies have uprooted home-grown farming by pricing the little man out of the business, and reduced the incentives for anyone to even consider raising his or her own food.
And of course we willingly cooperated. Nothing like fresh roasting corn in January. Why have a garden when you can get anything you want at the grocery store anytime of year?
Now we see the worst case yet of lax inspection of imported foodstuffs, and we realize that America has allowed itself to become so "inter-dependent" as to be foolhardy. We are just one or two "accidents" away from a major health and civil defense crisis. Do we really need to be importing food from a country whose leaders have sworn to defeat us? Why should we, with the millions of acres of farmland gone fallow, import any food at all?