Saturday, July 21, 2007

Well, everybody else was doing it...

So why are we being picked on?

Sounds like twelve year olds caught out late:
Li Changjiang, head of the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said officials were focusing on stricter market access requirements for companies, conducting random checks and beefing up product testing.

But he stressed that China was not the only one with problems, citing comments by World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan this week that the agency receives about 200 reports of food safety problems every month from its 193 member states.

"This shows that food safety is not an issue of a particular country or region," Li said at a news conference.
But further down the article:
This week, Philippine authorities said a Chinese candy was found to be tainted with formaldehyde — an allegation the maker denied on Wednesday, blaming counterfeit versions.

An official at the Shanghai branch of Swiss SGS, the testing company, said Friday that "the milk candy samples did not contain formaldehyde."

But the official, who gave only his surname, Zhang, said it was unclear if the products tested were the same as those found in the Philippines.
Uh huh. And I presume the dog ate your homework, too.

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By the way, just a heads up when you take your vitamin C:

New York and Beijing - A sharp rise in the international price of vitamin C is focusing fresh attention on the risks of the world's growing dependence on China for essential food supplies and additives.

China, which exports more than 80 percent of the world's ascorbic acid – also known as vitamin C and a key food preservative – appears to have cut production over the past several months, pushing prices up by more than 200 percent to a four-year high.

Update: The costs in lawsuits and finding other producers of food products is still being calculated.

The Washington Post:
In Nevada, the chief executive of an import company examines the lawsuit that just hit him, wondering how much it will cost to ensure that his next purchases of pet food ingredients are free of industrial poisons.

In Kansas, wheat growers wonder how China usurped the once-bustling market in gluten, a protein-rich byproduct of those amber waves of grain that once symbolized America's bounty.

And at a park in Washington, the owner of a soft-coated terrier says that after learning the food he had been giving his beloved Checkers for the past six years was on the recall list, he will never again buy pet food brands with foreign ingredients.

"They've lost a lot of credibility," said Fred Mitzner, who after the recall started buying California Natural dog food. "It was very upsetting."

While the Food and Drug Administration pursues what is sure to be a long investigation into how pet food became contaminated with an ingredient for making plastics, and while Congress begins the months-long process of haggling over food-safety amendments, pet food companies, their suppliers and their customers do not have the luxury of waiting.

They have to cope with the crisis immediately, and for most, that is already proving expensive.

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