Updated FDA Food Pyramid

Sunday, May 27, 2007 | 07:52 AM

  Scary But True:

Updated_fda_food_pyramid

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This would be funny if it were not so true: hat tip, Ritholtz... [Read More]

Tracked on May 27, 2007 12:54:04 PM

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On May 6, the NY Times ran an article talking about medicine laced with anti-freeze that was comin’ outta’ China and into Panama for local consumption. To make a point underscoring the fact that our manufacturers don’t know the origins of what they are feeding us, read this cut-and-paste: ... “Forty-six barrels of the toxic syrup arrived via a poison pipeline stretching halfway around the world. Through shipping records and interviews with government officials, The New York Times traced this pipeline from the Panamanian port of Colón, back through trading companies in Barcelona, Spain, and Beijing, to its beginning near the Yangtze Delta in a place local people call “chemical country.” The 46 barrels in question contained diethylene glycol (an industrial solvent and prime ingredient in some antifreeze) but was labeled as “99.5% pure glycerin” which, as you know, is used as a sweetener in some foods, cough syrups and toothpaste. What’s the motive for the deception? Why, cost, naturally! The upshot is that last year, this poison was mixed into 260k bottles of cough syrup by the Panamanian government. Thus, among the so-far deaths, there were kids. “The kidneys fail first. Then the central nervous system begins to misfire. Paralysis spreads, making breathing difficult, then often impossible without assistance. In the end, most victims die.”

Can you imagine having given something as seemingly harmless as cough syrup to a sick child which sent him into kidney failure and ultimately, death? It is unfathomable that the world is allowing this to continue.

But what about the mention of the use of glycerin in toothpaste? Glad you asked. Because that brings us straight forward to today’s hot story on China.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/22/business/worldbusiness/22toothpaste.html

“China investigates Contaminated Toothpaste” talks about the suspicion that some diethylene glycol-tainted toothpaste has turned up in Latin America, some of it marketed for children. ...“No tainted toothpaste has been found in the United States, but a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that the agency would be taking “a hard look” at whether to issue an import alert.” ...

That’s a real comfort, eh? Please read the article and you will see not only the level of the diethylene glycol (50 x any safety level), but also how these poisonous goods are smuggled in and around various networks so that they turn up all over the place. And again, nobody knows where they came from! Now here is the attitude of the manufacturer in China. It’s stunning in its nonchalance: ...“Mr. Hu at Goldcredit said that while he did not produce the toothpaste shipped to Panama, diethylene glycol had been used for years at very low levels in Chinese toothpaste as a glycerin substitute. “If diethylene glycol were poisonous,” he said, “all Chinese people would have been poisoned.””

That’s just so wonderful a consolation, I am overwhelmed with joy. So let’s think about this for a moment, shall we? John Q. American Public has seen his standard of living eroded over time as that is a byproduct of globalization. Plain and simple. Get it? We have given them some of our standard of living. Now we see this raw deal start to come full circle because in return, they are giving us some of their non-existent standards. How’s that, you ask? Well, we could start by talkin’ about basic sanitary conditions. And then we could progress to felonious use of industrial solvents in consumer goods. Which evidently, has been a practice in China that has come under no scrutiny. Until they started transferring the unthinkable to US shores. And then, by virtue of those pet deaths, have now been exposed.

But when you mull this development in the bigger picture, you might come to realize a much darker side of the story. Think about it. We gave them our jobs. They stole our technology. They bought our govvies, keeping rates down, underpinning economic growth. They sold us cheap manufactured goods which helped to keep CPI inflation in check. Alas, they also assisted PPI by selling tainted and poisonous ingredients to US producers. Who gladly scooped them up in the name of sacred margins with a view towards “hitting their numbers”. At the bottom of this death spiral, we have John Q. who is now eating filthy and poisoned food. Alas, thought, it’s not just the food, no sir. According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald ... drum roll ...
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/chinese-textiles-could-
pose-cancer-risk/2007/05/20/1179601244347.html

“In a report obtained by the Herald, one brand of blanket imported from China and widely distributed was found to have almost 10 times the amount of formaldehyde permissible under international standards.” Apparently, the textile was imported from China but the blankets made in Australia. You probably know that formaldehyde exposure is directly linked to leukemia and lung cancer. Yes, the US, Europe and Japan have standards. But again, who is enforcing this stuff? Please visualize one of those “supertankers” 10,000 containers wide and high.

How the heck can we check this stuff? We cannot. But you do know that the alternative is an immediate ban. Can you bite the bullet? The Chinese do it all the time. Don’t you remember a couple o’ years back, when they bought up all those soybeans at the highs and then refused to take delivery, leaving I think Cargill, Argentina and Brazil, hangin’ out to dry as counterparties? They invented some kind of “contamination” of those beans in order to DK the trades. So why are we still playin’ Patsy? Haven’t you seen those $7.99 fleece throws at Sam’s Club? Ever wonder how they could sell ‘em so inexpensively? Well, now we’re onto another part of this puzzle. And now I’m gonna’ give you something to extrapolate. Later, we’ll see if we come up with the same conclusions. There was an AP article printed this morning at 6:11 a.m. This is the toothpaste scare again. ... “On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt said those problems had been raised at the ''highest levels'' of China's government, adding he believed China understood the economic risks involved.” ...

Whatever. Here’s the kicker, way down at the bottom of the story: ... “However, a salesman for a Chinese trading company that imports the chemical [diethylene glycol] from Iran said it is occasionally be used to prevent toothpaste from drying out.” ...

Okay, baby, send it in. Not only do we not know where the heck General Mills is gettin’ its ingredients, but having traced one of the deadliest additives back to China... we now find out that the real source is IRAN. Now ain’t that a kick in the stick? Yes, the same stick, the short end of which, John Q. always seems to be hangin’ onto.

Is there a seed germinatin’ in your mind? I hear you loud and clear. Meanwhile, let’s continue to frisk 18-month old toddlers ... and their strollers ... as part of airport security ... while wavin’ poisoned food thru US Customs.

What a superb environment our leaders have created for us and the next generation, eh? Did you notice, though, that in the end, the same question comes back to haunt us, every time we realize that we have been sold down the river in the name of free trade? What is that haunting question? The ubiquitous “Qui bono”? Henry Q.B. Paulson will be sittin’ down with China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Wu Yi, in DC. Let’s see what Paulson’s efforts will yield besides concessions for the investment banks. Perhaps the more telling answer will be the response to “In exchange for what”?

Whadda’ ya’ think of all this, eh? Once you compose yourself, you may want to join me in a laugh. Huh? What popped into my mind was the proposal of a federal tax on sugary soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi. See? Our legislators, a/k/a the nanny government, wanna’ make sure that we don’t get too chunky. My, how very thoughtful of them to watch our waistline. One would only hope that they would devote even a scintilla of this nitpicking attention to watching China’s waste line ... as it flows onto US shores, into our factories and ultimately, onto our tables and across our backs.

Ain’t life grand? Next case.

Posted by: Joan | May 27, 2007 9:32:53 AM

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