Look Out for Chinese Imports
Now that America is importing most of the ingredients for prescription drugs and the majority of foods we eat, it's important to look behind the label. It may or may not tell you from where the products come.
Your prescription drugs could be coming from Communist China, where drug research has fallen under a cloud since 2006 because 13 of the top 20 global drugmakers have not set up research and development centers there. Yes, it's cheaper to do research in China, but as one auditor said, "With cheaper research, comes greater risk."
Scientists in China tested a drug on animals and failed to publicly report the findings before testing began on humans, a breach described by drug researchers as a "mortal sin." Auditors also found Chinese workers did not properly monitor clinical trials and paid hospitals in ways that could be seen as bribery.
China's purchase of pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc. for $4.7 billion has U.S. officials concerned about how the safety and availability of heparin — an important blood thinner derived from pig intestines that is widely used in heart surgery and kidney dialysis in the U.S. — could be affected.
This is the biggest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company in history, as Smithfield is the world's largest producer of pork, with 46,000 employees in 25 states. It also is a major supplier of crude heparin, an already-stressed resource that could soon be in short supply.
In 2007 and 2008, 94 people died after being treated with contaminated heparin, while nearly 150 suffered serious reactions.
U.S. inspections in China are not what we're used to in this country. For example, inspectors came and went from a Walmart-certified factory in China's Guangdong province this fall, approving production of specialty items already on shelves of U.S. stores for Christmas sales. Unknown to the inspectors, none of the kiddie items, like reindeer suits, were manufactured at the factory they were inspecting. The work had been outsourced to a never-inspected and cheaper rogue factory.
Pets are in danger, too. Mysterious canine illnesses and deaths have been linked to jerky treats from China, causing two manufacturers to pull leading brands off their shelves.
Dog lovers are warned that many jerky treats say "product of the U.S.A.," when really, the label merely means they were packaged here.
Chickens raised and slaughtered in China are slated to be on the shelves of U.S. grocery stores next year. In September, the Department of Agriculture notified China that four of its processing plants were cleared to begin processing chickens to sell in the American market.
Likewise, free trade is bringing us fish raised in China's sick rivers, such as the Yangtze. By the time fish swim to fish ponds, the water has accumulated raw sewage, agricultural pesticides and the heavy metal output of poorly regulated industrial plants.
An increasing number of vaccines are manufactured in China and sold in U.S. pharmacies, as well. China boasts of 30 companies that will soon be producing 1 billion doses a year.
China tops the list of countries with tainted products. Its baby milk was responsible for killing Chinese babies because the toxic chemical melamine was added to it to conceal its low protein content.
China has also sold Americans a dazzling array of counterfeits and forgeries, including copyrighted books, music and expensive fashion apparel. The China Bee Product Association reports half of all honey sold in China is fake.
China's latest venture into deception is collecting empty bottles of genuine alcohol, refilling them with a cheap substitute from who knows where and reselling them to popular bars and restaurants in Beijing. Police discovered 37,000 bottles of this fake alcohol ready to be delivered.
China's counterfeit alcohol is usually made from one of three bases: ethylene glycol (antifreeze), which attacks the kidneys and heart and is potentially fatal; methanol, which attacks the retinal nerve and could result in blindness; and isopropyl (rubbing alcohol).
Yanzhong Huang, an expert on Chinese health at the Council on Foreign Relations, explained the big difference between Chinese and U.S. medical safety standards. U.S. vaccines are kept safe by supporting institutions, such as "the market economy, democracy, media-monitoring, civil society and a business ethics code," plus inspections and regulations, severe punishment for violators and lawsuits by trial attorneys. Communist China doesn't tolerate any of these safety precautions.
Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and author of 20 books. She is the co-author, with George Neumayr, of The New York Times best-seller titled "No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom." She can be contacted by email at email@example.com. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com
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