By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
June 14, 2007
On April 1 of this year I wrote a commentary essay under the headline “China Killed Your Dog.” I said at the time that the mainstream media seemed to be brushing this story under the carpet.
The red meat of “China Killed Your Dog” is this: Chinese food manufacturers use all kinds of inexpensive products as filler and other agents in things like pet food, soy sauce, toothpaste and chewing gum.
And they don’t care if the product is toxic.
The pet food was largely poisoned by a chemical reaction which included a product called melamine, which is used in fertilizer and plastics, mixed with wheat glutin. Using this formula, Chinese manufacturers reduced production costs while still charging cutomers top dollar: as if beef or other high quality products had been used in the pet food.
Melamine is a prohibited substance in American pet food according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, melamine is a widely accepted fertilizer in China. And farmers mix it into livestock feed, pet food and other products because it is plentiful, inexpensive and usually undetected.
When New York Times reporters in China followed up on this story, they asked some farmers why China couldn’t just stomp out those few using melamine. Farmers told them everyone used melamine this way since the 1950s. The use of melamine is not restricted to a few isolate production houses: it is everywhere in Chinese agriculture.
Since April, there have been several additional revelations about how China produces food and just about everything else. American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have been spot checking to see where Chinese manufacturers cut corners and endanger consumers.
What followed was a series of discoveries of wrong-doing on the part of Chinese manufacturers.
Cold medicine made in China killed 51 people in Panama. The product was found to contain glycerin.
Chinese toothpaste was found to contain diethylene glycol. This is a close relative to the anti-icing spray used on aircraft in winter time and it is know to be poisonous.
And yesterday the CPSC recalled Thomas Train pieces manufactured with lead paint.
The world has known that lead paint is toxic for decades.
Chinese officials made a great show of saying they would provide “100% inspection of all exports.” Of course this is a ridiculous and unworkable plan.
FDA and CPSC officials tried to explain to the Chinese of “building quality into the product from the start.”
This built-in quality idea, of course, came from Japanese auto makers. When Japan began to make higher quality cars than Detroit, Ford, GM and other manufacturers went to Japan to learn why. The Detroit auto men claimed to have the best post production quality inspection and control system on earth. The Japanese said they had very limited post production inspection. The Japanese built the quality in from the start.