Saturday, July 14, 2007

Unsafe Food Import from China

So I was talking with a middle-age, well-fed northern woman who had been water-walking in the pool for most of the afternoon, when it was brought up that Made-in-China Thomas Trains was recalled because of led-containing paint. 'Do you know they have corrected the problem'? Huh? 'I had a niece who's teacher told them that China shot the guy!' Huh? 'There's more than one guy who's responsible for it, but China picked up one of them and had him shot'!

Than I realized the lady was referring to Mr. Zheng Xiaoyu, the FDA Director of China, who was sentenced to death and was executed last week. FDA does not regulate toy paint, so the two cases were totally unrelated. By linking them together, American media not only impressed American people on a poorly built toy, but also on the brutality of Chinese system. On the other hand, by mentioning Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 together, American media has successfully induced the perception that the two had some sort of connection and that the killing of Iraqis is well justified. For a while, even the occupation army believed this theory but now they regret. The new policy strategy in Iraq is to re-arm the Sunnis so that they can fight with Al-Qaeda.

Mr. Zheng Xiaoyu's death is tragedy for his family, but a good news for China's chaotic food and drug administrations. During Mr. Zheng's tenure as the director of China's FDA, he blindly approved numerous fake/flawed drugs, based only on the bribe he took in. There's no count of the total number died from his crazy management, but the number would be in thousands, if not hundred of thousands of direct death from bad medicine put on market by Mr. Zheng. In 10 years, the only barrier between a fabricated 'drug' and the Chinese medicine market is $1-2,000 bribe to Mr. Zheng. Dirt cheap for the pharmaceutically companies, but high for those who lost their loved ones to fake drugs. Suffice to say that having Mr. Zheng shot 1000 times won't be enough to serve the justice.

With the 2008 presidential campaign closing in, it's ever popular to bash China. What is more convenient than bashing food safety? However, according to a Wall-Street Journal article, numbers released by the US Custom does not support the passionate bashing fascinated by radio talk show hosts, and drive-by media. According to the record released by the US Custom for Year 2007 (July 2006 to June 2007), 1763 cases of import food from India was denied entry due to sub-standard quality, and 1480 cases of India of import food from Mexico was denied entry, followed by 1368 from China. The US Custom check 1% of the all import food, and keep in mind that import from China vastly exceeds import from any other country (or combined) in volume. Over-all, imported food from China is safer than most of those from other countries, including western countries such as Denmark (543), Japan (508) and Italy (482).

Only China was named for, and accused of food quality control problem. Countries that had worse problem such as Denmark, Japan and Italy, as well as India and Mexico are able to tip-toe through. The media is not serving the public interest.

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