Archive for the ‘grocery’ Category

New China Food Safety Alert: Toxic Seafood Has Melamine

December 24, 2008
Melamine has been added to countless products in China in an effort to boost apparent levels of protein by raising the nitrogen count.  But melamine, when concentratated is toxic and poisonous to humans — especially children.

Melamine killed at least six children in China who drank toxic milk this year and it  sickened thousands.  Melamine has also been found in scores of China’s exports including toothpaste, cough syrup, yogurt, dog and cat food, eggs, ice cream, chicken, chocolate, breads and cakes and other products…..

The biggest dairy company in China, Sanlu,  is now going out of business, its reputation destroyed by the use of melamine….

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
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http://www.cnn.com/2008/BUSINESS/12/25/sanlu.
bankruptcy/index.html

I saw the improper mixing and use of animal feed in China years ago.  Chinese farmers were just trying to lessen the cost of feeding chickens and cattle.  And agricultural suppliers of all kinds in China work feverishly to sell “cheeper, better” feeds, insecticides and fertilizers.  Usually, melamine was added to animal feed.

Beijing’s government has little or no control over the millions of small manufacturers and farmers in the vast countryside of this rural nation of 1.3 billion people.  Until this last summer’s Olympics, Beijing had never even had food sanitation and safety standards written much less enforced for restaurants — a very basic of health taken for granted in the West.

On October 31, 2008, the BBC reported that the poison melamine was widely used in many food products in China and that “the melamine scandal began early in September.” 

Apparently the BBC took no note of the New York Times report a year ago last April (2007) that melamine was widely used in food products in China — and probably had been for years.  The Times called the use a melamine an “open secret” in China.
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Here’s the report on melamine in China’s food supply from The New York Times from April 2007:
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ZHANGQIU, China, April 28, 2007 — As American food safety regulators head to China to investigate how a chemical made from coal found its way into pet food that killed dogs and cats in the United States, workers in this heavily polluted northern city openly admit that the substance is routinely added to animal feed as a fake protein.
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For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

Melamine is at the center of a recall of 60 million packages of pet food, after the chemical was found in wheat gluten linked this month to the deaths of at least 16 pets in the United States.

No one knows exactly how melamine (which is not believed to be particularly toxic) became so fatal in pet food, but its presence in any form of American food is illegal.

The link to China has set off concerns among critics of the Food and Drug Administration that ingredients in pet food as well as human food, which are increasingly coming from abroad, are not being adequately screened.

Above: Ariana Lindquist for The New York Times

“They have fewer people inspecting product at the ports than ever before,” says Caroline Smith DeWaal, the director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington. “Until China gets programs in place to verify the safety of their products, they need to be inspected by U.S. inspectors. This open-door policy on food ingredients is an open invitation for an attack on the food supply, either intentional or unintentional.”

Now, with evidence mounting that the tainted wheat gluten came from China, American regulators have been granted permission to visit the region to conduct inspections of food treatment facilities.

The Food and Drug Administration has already banned imports of wheat gluten from China after it received more than 14,000 reports of pets believed to have been sickened by packaged food. And last week, the agency opened a criminal investigation in the case and searched the offices of at least one pet food supplier.

The Department of Agriculture has also stepped in. On Thursday, the agency ordered more than 6,000 hogs to be quarantined or slaughtered after some of the pet food ingredients laced with melamine were accidentally sent to hog farms in eight states, including California.

Read the rest
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/business/worldbusines
s/30food.html?ex=1335672000&en=b143bd4a5d0684b6&e
i=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

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Industry experts and businesspeople in China say that the industrial chemical melamine has been routinely added to fish and animal feed to artificially boost protein readings.

By Don Lee and Tiffany Hsu
The Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Los Angeles and Shanghai — Melamine in Chinese-produced milk powder has sickened hundreds of thousands of children and added to a growing list of made-in-China foods banned across the globe. Now, some scientists and consumer advocates are raising concerns that fish from China may also be contaminated with the industrial chemical.

China is the world’s largest producer of farm-raised seafood, exporting billions of dollars worth of shrimp, catfish, tilapia, salmon and other fish. The U.S. imported about $2 billion of seafood products from China in 2007, almost double the volume of four years earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But industry experts and businesspeople in China say that melamine has been routinely added to fish and animal feed to artificially boost protein readings. And new research suggests that, unlike in cows and pigs, the edible flesh in fish that have been fed melamine contains residues of the nitrogen-rich substance.

Melamine, commonly used in plastics and dishware, can lead to urinary problems such as kidney stones and even renal failure.

Last year, pet foods made with melamine-laced ingredients from China sickened or killed thousands of dogs and cats in the U.S. This year, infant formula tainted with the chemical has been linked to illness in 294,000 small children and six deaths in China, according to China’s Ministry of Health.

In the U.S., fish from China can be found in the frozen food aisle in supermarkets and is served in posh restaurants.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-melamine24-2008dec24,0,5133588.story

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