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Jul 10, 2007 04:36 AM

New Concerns About Imported Foods

I have never been a health-nut shopper limiting myself to "organic" stores and farmers' markets and have loved the fun and variety of ethnic markets. However, recent bad news about products coming from China---and possibly other faraway places---have gotten my attention. I recently stopped buying the frozen scallops I've bought previously because they are farmed in China, which my morning paper informs me uses fish-tank water contaminated with factory pollutants. I read that China also doesn't scruple to lie on labels (so can "Thailand" really mean "China"?) Such generic products as "stablizers" have turned out to be poisonous industrial chemicals (yesterday, the gluten in catfood; tomorrow, why not the gluten in US-canned soup?) And now today's Yahoo News announces that China has executed (put to death!) the head of its FDA for taking payola to allow bad stuff. I'm glad they're concerned, but somehow feel this won't end the problem. It's hard to find the safe ground between being a toxicologist and becoming a culinary provincial. How are others coping with this downside of globalization?

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  1. By only eating organic and eating local. I don't want stuff in my food that doesn't belong there. The organic industry isn't perfect but at least by eating organic you are reducing your chances of ingesting these toxic, synthetic substances. Yes it's a pain and yes the cost can be significant but it's worth it. I can go on and on all day about the benefits of organic food but all I can say is start reading labels of simple food products. Organic food starts making a lot of sense.

    2 Replies
    1. re: OrganicLife

      Buying "organic" foods is not necessarily the answer. Many products from China and other Southeast Asian countries are becoming more prevalent in the produce sections of our supermarkets. It has been reported that these "organic" labels are being used indiscriminately, with no regulatory bodies providing any sort of governance or certification standards. So, yes -- organic is one answer, provided it is certified by a reliable and trustworthy certifying body.

      The most logical solution appears to be that we, as consumers, must connect with the people who are growing and producing our foods. We must get to know the farmers and producers so that we can ask questions about our food supply. Ultimately, if we don't revert to the old ways of eating mostly what's available seasonally from our local growers, our food supply -- most of which is imported -- will become increasingly suspect, and our local farms will have become relics of the past because we failed to support them in the present.

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      1. As far as jfood can help it food from China ain't hitting his table. This week jfood standing in front of the shrimp counter. Two countries of origin for the same size, one was $2 more per pound from a "better" country. Yup jfood is paying the money.

        mrs jfood even more picky and the jfood family foregoes many of its wants if the lable of origin is not on the "acceptable" list.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jfood

          Unfortunately a great deal of the seafood coming into the US is imported, and not to mention farmed in murky disgusting unsafe environments. The "acceptable" list jfood is referring to can be found here:

          On another note in regards to shrimp, I read a great article recently about a place in Florida called Ocean Boy Farms who are sustainably and organically growing shrimp in a nursery on land miles away from the ocean. This cuts down on the destruction of mangroves, bycatch from trawlers searching for wild shrimp, etc. I think it's a great idea. Unfortunately, the shrimp goes quick and they are temporarily sold out. You can read more here:

          You may be able to find some of these shrimp at Costco however.