Tainted Exports Also Come From Countries Not Named China

Remember the Washington Post’s analysis of FDA Refusal Reports? The New York Times double-checked the Post’s work and found that China isn’t the only country exporting filthy salmonella-infested goods. Exports from India, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic have all been stopped at the U.S. border for failing to meet basic sanitary requirements.

Salmonella was the top reason that food was rejected from India, and it was found in products like black pepper, coriander powder and shrimp. “Filthy” was the primary reason food was stopped from Mexico, and the rejections included lollipops, crabmeat and dried chili.

We are not surprised. Manufacturers everywhere feel the same economic pressures to cut corners and boost profits. It’s globalization, man. More of a surprise and a disappointment is the FDA’s refusal to let the press view refusal reports from before 2006; the agency will not release the documents public unless the press files a formal Freedom of Information request.

The FDA knows food safety is a major issue, and even has a solution that they have no plans to implement.

An F.D.A. plan to revamp the way it inspects imports, called the Import Strategic Plan, was completed in 2003, but shelved because of budgetary constraints, several former F.D.A. officials said. The plan would have focused more on finding potential risks in the food supply using vast quantities of information — from inspectors and manufacturers to foreign governments and consumers — to aim at problem imports.

“It basically got deep-sixed,” said William Hubbard, a former F.D.A. associate commissioner who resigned in 2005 and is now a part of a coalition that is advocating for more financing for the agency. “There was no capacity to cover as imports went up,” he said.

Noting that the number of import shipments has vastly increased in the last 15 years, he said: “That’s a huge, huge increase and they’ve lost people. These guys are going to war without enough troops. They don’t even have guns.”

When former FDA associate commissioners start comparing the battle to make our food safe to the war in Iraq, it’s time to start a vegetable garden.

China Not Sole Source of Dubious Food [NYT]
(Photo: bengal*foam)


Edit Your Comment

  1. banned says:

    wtf is going on over there? When us Canadians sent you one cow with mad cow, you quit buying our beef for years yet all this sh#t goes on and the government does nothing. Your government seems only to hate Canada as everybody esle barely gets a warning.

  2. miborovsky says:

    It’s about time. I was beginning to think the consumerist had been bought by Falun Gong or somesuch and is now dedicated to bashing China.

  3. Tricon says:


    A site dedicated to the finding of sub-standard (mostly mexican) candy

  4. dbeahn says:

    @rocnrule: One cow with mad cow is enough to infect an entire country’s cattle supply. Look at England, for example.

    It’s nothing personal, it’s just basic infectious disease control.

  5. banned says:

    Maybe so but in one of the cases, it was proven the cow was sold to us by America, and yet they still denied our beef. If it was about simple disease control, you’da had to pull all your own meat also. Its more of a pick and choose kinda’ thing. It almost destroyed our entire industry and was not out fault. And all this jazz that the government does not have the manpower blah, blah, blah is BS, if they wanted to act, they would.

  6. Thrust says:

    @rocnrule: The US will always overplay any canadian beef issues because of this “Free Trade” BULLSHIT. The deal behind free trade was Can/US trading would be untaxed to encourage our countries to buy more from eachother because other imports would be taxed. Then the US started TAXING free-trade items. We up in Canada try to tax anything US and they go apeshit, but they now tax wood and paper products, produce, meat, well lets face it… Most anything. As such, Canada has been trading more and more with Mexico and China, and the US hates it, so they cause a stink every time they find something wrong.

  7. Bourque77 says:

    Is anyone surprised by this really? I mean china might be an exception but mexico and india are well known filthy countries why would their food be any different. Is just a game of russian roulette when you buy food from other countries now. The FDA isnt going to do much of anything about it. We are basically leaving it up to the importers to not send us bad food. I mean its well documented that only around 1% of imports are inspected.

  8. EtherealStrife says:

    @rocnrule: It was a republican cow, you insensitive clod.

    Maybe it’s because I consume such a wide variety of ethnic foods, but salmonella really isn’t that scary. Most times it’s just a few days on the pot and you’re good to go, no doctor required (just keep up the fluids). Eat at enough dives and you’ll pick it up, regardless of what’s being served.

    If it means eating great tasting food I’ll take MSG in my pho and salmonella in my samosa and carne asada, thank you very much.

  9. andrewsmash says:

    It’s just the S.O.S. Food recalls and import blockages are inversely proportional to the number of US billionaires involved.

  10. loueloui says:

    I think maybe the Chinese poison train makes stops in other countries.

    Thank you I’ll be here all week. Remember to tip your servers.

  11. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    It is not surprising that Mexico and India have had food shipments labeled “Filthy.” These good people are doing what would be acceptable in their country, and it is up to the importer to make sure that US standards are met.

    What is alarming about the Chinese instances are that these are no accidents. The Chinese piled melaline into the wheat gluten to improve the protein readings taken – the one thing that we would check – and it was the melaline that killed the pets.

    Then, they put diethelyne glycol into the toothpaste – a cheap alternative to sweetner, and even did a government study to show that less than 15.6% (or some figure) was not capable of human harm.

    Isn’t this outrageous! These people are intentionally messing with food formulations – this is above and beyond poor preparation or “filthy.” They should know better, and WE should demand ORIGIN LABELS on all of our foods.

  12. Thrust says:

    If I had salmonella I wouldn’t even notice. Side effect of only having three fast food joints around work is at least once a week you visit the one that is McDonalds, and there’s another week of burning intestines and liquid shits. And every time you say “No more Rotten Ronnie’s”, and after two days of Arby’s and two days of A&W, its back to the clown’s greasepit and another week on the can.

  13. allthatsevil says:

    @EtherealStrife: “…but salmonella really isn’t that scary.”

    Unless you’re pregnant, in which case it can cause miscarriage or still-birth. And most people, pregnant or not, really don’t want to spend a couple days on the toilet with the Hershey-squirts.

  14. RebekahSue says:

    @rocnrule: and i’m sure you noticed that there was no boycott on fireworks this year.

    China remains the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world. It is estimated China exported over 6 million cases or 120,000 tons of fireworks to the U.S. in 2005
    Mainline Times

  15. wakela says:

    *I* double checked the Post’s work more than a month ago and posted my results in the comment section of the previous China Poison Train article on the Consumerist. I asked why no one was complaining about India, and I showed that Mexico was no angel, either.

    “We are not surprised.” Indeed.

  16. satoru says:

    Though there is a difference between the two. In India the issue is salmonella which is not suprising because of their water supply treatment facilities being essentially non-existant. For the Mexico it is pesticides.

    The differentiating factor is that the countries are not intentionally trading out fatal ingredients to save a few bucks. Its the intentional use and total disregard for ethics that makes China much more dangerous.