FROM Patty Lovera
China and America's Food Supply The United States once called itself the "food basket" for much of the world, but that was before economic globalization. Last year, the US imported 4.1 billion pounds of food products from China. More than half the cod and tilapia we eat -- 50% of the apple juice and 31% of the garlic -- originated in China, a country infamous for food-safety problems. The FDA inspects less than 3% of the imports, but China reportedly treats food for export very differently from what it grows for domestic consumption. Where do Chinese food imports turn up without your knowing it? Are they getting a bad rap because of international politics?
Are America's Vegetables as Safe as They Should Be? The latest count in the E.coli outbreak is one dead and 146 suffering from cramps, diarrhea and kidney trouble. The "smoking gun" is a bag of contaminated spinach found in the refrigerator of a sick patient in New Mexico. It came from somewhere in California's Salinas Valley, where three-quarters of America's spinach and lettuce are grown. But officials may never know from which farm or how the contamination occurred. They do know that this is the ninth time in 11 years that a dangerous strain of E. coli has been traced to Salinas Valley spinach or lettuce. Who's in charge of protecting consumers from poisoned food? How stringently are standards enforced? Is it time to change the way food is grown and distributed?
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