China Building Bad Record Of Hazardous Exports
July 1, 2007
There has been a steady drumbeat of revelations over the past several months that food and other products from China have been tainted or defective.
Thursday, Food and Drug Administration officials halted imports from China of farmed catfish, shrimp, eel, basa and dace, after repeated tests found traces of the antibiotics nitrofuran and fluoroquinolone, as well as the antifungals malachite green and gentian violet. Individual shipments of these fish will be allowed into the country if a company can show the products are free of these drugs.
Also last week, U.S. traffic safety authorities ordered Foreign Tire Sales Inc. of Union, N.J., to recall as many as 450,000 radial tires it imported from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. because of an unsafe design that can result in blowouts. The tires were sold under at least four brand names: Westlake, Compass, Telluride and YKS.
Earlier in June, 1.5 million high-end Thomas the Tank Engine toys based on the books and animated TV series and made in China were recalled because they contain lead paint. So far this year, 24 types of toys that were made in China have been recalled because of safety concerns; the Consumer Product Safety Commission said more than 60 percent of the agency's 178 recalls this year have involved Chinese products.
Also last month, the FDA stopped imports of toothpaste made in China because it may contain diethylene glycol, a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze that can act as a sweetening and thickening agent.
A recall of more than 100 brands of pet foods was ordered in March after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that wheat gluten, imported from China and used as a protein source in the products, was contaminated with melamine, an industrial substance with no approved use in food. The contamination led to the deaths of possibly thousands of cats and dogs from kidney failure.
In the first four months of 2007, FDA inspectors - who are able to check out less than 1 percent of regulated imports - refused 298 food shipments from China, including dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical, frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics, scallops and sardines coated with bacteria and mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.
China announced last week it found industrial chemicals - including formaldehyde, illegal dyes and industrial wax - being used in products from candy to seafood.
- Associated Press reports