Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Warning: Made in China

You may see that label on products soon. A new "Red Scare," this time on products made from China, is emerging as China's lack of accountability and safety standards of its manufacturing industry causes health concerns and outrage.

It started in 2007 when large batches of cat and dog food made in China and sold into the United States were contaminated with the chemical melamine, which were found in wheat gluten. Outrage from the U.S. led to China's promise of 'better health standards.'

Shortly after, Mattel and other major U.S.-based toy companies issued recalls for numerous toys for kids after it was found to contain lead paint. Where were these toys made in? China. Again, government regulators here urged US companies and the Chinese government to take responsibility and improve safety standards.

Recently, it is of even more personal concern, as our own food supply is being contaminated. In November of 2006, it was reported that some manufacturers used a banned carcinogenic dye in duck feed in order to make their eggs more red. And this past September, Chinese officials acknowledged that some baby formula was tainted with the chemical melamine in order to dilute the milk. Over 40,000 infants in China have been hospitalized and 4 have died as a result of the tainted product vital to babies. Recently, Chinese-produced eggs and meats have been red-flagged in Hong Kong as tests of imported eggs resulted in melamine levels of nearly 2 times the limit. And since the chemical was used in creating milk-based derivatives such as milk powder, whey, etc., food products containing these ingredients are under heavy suspicions.

Forget the current financial crisis. The next "bubble collapse" may come from China's manufacturing industry; but this time it will spread not only to Main St., but right onto our very own dining tables.

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