Friday, November 28, 2008

It's okay to have a little of Melamin in baby's milk?

I found it hard to believe that FDA announced that it's safe for baby to have a little of Melamine in their milk. Melamine is for industrial and pesticide use, and it's okay for baby now.

I am sure glad I don't have baby drinking formula. But if you do, I hope you would not be feeding your baby milk suspected of containing Melamine.

I hope the new Obama administration will start looking into FDA and its personnel for the mentality that allows Melamine into baby's milk.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Country of Origin labeling

When grocery shopping the other day in an Asian market in Mountain View, I noticed this new market puts Country of Origin labels on most (if not all) of the fruits, vegetables and seafood. It was quite impressive.

Of course, when I got to the packaged processed food section, there was not such delight of information for consumers.

Why some small grocery stores can easily do Country of Origin labels while food manufactures can not or are unwilling to do so for the ingredients?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Abominably, contaminated blood thinner ingredients re-entered the US

On November 8th, 2008, I had read in a non-English newspaper about the re-entry of contaminated Heparin from China . Searching for two days, finally I found the news in English language. The stories of Chinese made ingredients in the American and Western drugs (Heparin – blood thinner) are on the right side of this blog. I am adding the most updated news on the top of the right side.

The most amazing thing is companies like Celsus Laboratories continued purchasing Chinese ingredients for distribution in the U. S. and internationally, after almost 250 deaths and hundreds of severed allergies that were blamed on the tainted blood thinner from China. The following is quoted from the news:

“FDA testing in January (2008) found that large amounts of Chinese raw heparin imported into the United Sates were contaminated with the chemical oversulfated chondroitin sulfate. The FDA believes the substance was added to allow the product to pass tests that measure heparin levels.

A major heparin recall ensued. Almost 250 deaths and hundreds of severe allergic reactions were blamed on tainted batches of the blood thinner, which is frequently given to patients having heart surgery and kidney dialysis.”

It is clear that ‘greed’ motivated the Chinese to add Melamine to food and drug ingredients; and abominably, it is also ‘greed’ that motivated some American companies, such as Celsus Laboratories, to continue buying and distributing ingredients from the same country where the tainted Heparin came from.

Under such arrangement of international trades, manipulated by greedy business establishments, what should consumers do? In addition to gaining as much information as possible, we should also demand country origin labeling on all packaged food and medication.

Your comments and recommendations are more than welcome.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

American consumers are vulnerable to contaminated products

Somehow I did not catch this report immediately after its publication. In the news links on the right side of this blog, there’s a report showing how vulnerable the American consumers are to the contaminated products. It’s shocking to know that FDA inspects less than one percent of imports a year. Less than one percent...

Former Director of Imports for FDA (1999-2005), Carl Nielsen, said "... There's so little known from the foreign markets." I totally agree. Especially food and/ingredients that are from countries that have little or no free media reporting. The melamine contaminated milk products from China is a very clear example. My understanding was that, in China there were complaints of melamine contamination in the Chinese milk since last December. But, with the Chinese style of media, no news outlets knew about, or reported it until huge numbers of Chinese kids got sick and were sent to hospitals.

Without sufficient FDA inspections, the American consumers are eating the food coming from the same "black box food supplies" as that of the third world countries.

Before FDA got enough funding and manpower to do sufficient inspection on the imports, we would like at least to see some transparency by food makers - labeling country origin for the ingredients.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Article by professor Marion Nestley (please see story link on the right)

In this article, Professor Marion Nestle, a nationally recognized nutrition expert, answered many questions about the Chinese melamine contaminated ingredients. She explained briefly the history of Melamine as ideal adulterant and talked about actions many countries should take. For the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) should be bearing a lot of responsibilities to do the job.

Regarding creating a new food safety agency, I am wondering about the financial feasibility in today's downturn economy. Wouldn't it be easier to simply increase FDA's budget and manpower?

I do agree with her that for now, we may want to say no to imported ingredients and foods, and that knowing where foods and ingredients come from is important for our purchase decisions in the store and also for our peace of mind.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Etiquette aspect of receiving sweets

Kids often receive sweet treats. The old tradition is saying thank you and eating them. In this era of unknown ingredients in packaged food, parents are facing dilemma of examining the sweets or even questioning the givers the source of sweets, and traditional etiquette.

I hope parents, as guardians of our kids, stand up more for the safety of our children. It's more important to set the priority right. Of course, we want to explain to the generous givers our concerns of unknown ingredients in our packaged food.