In a recent report regarding Chinese food exports to Europe in the Global Edition of the New York Times, Mark McDonald notes Cypriot inspectors found arsenic in the frozen calamari.
“The Italians discovered maggots in the pasta. There were glass chips in the pumpkin seeds bound for Denmark, and Spanish regulators blocked a shipment of frozen duck meat because of forged papers.”
McDonald adds that in Germany, a norovirus outbreak from a shipment of frozen Chinese berries led to severe diarrhea and vomiting, and 30 people were hospitalized.
“Health authorities have given the all-clear after a recent poisoning of 11,000 children at hundreds of schools in Berlin and four other German states.”
German consumer agencies did not identify the source country, although a spokesperson for the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety told Food Production Daily that the berries “all came from the same batch imported from China.”
And a news report said the strawberries were grown, harvested and frozen in Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius, in Shandong Province.
Chinese food exports to Europe nearly doubled between 2005 and 2010. In Germany, food imports from China are up 26 percent since 2009.
Zhou Li, a food-safety expert and lecturer at Renmin University in Beijing, told Der Spiegel that Chinese farmers used to eat the same food that they grew and sold.
“But now that they are aware of the harmful effects of pesticides, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics,” said Zhou.
“They still produce a portion of their farm products for the market and a portion for their own families. The only difference is that the food for their families is produced using traditional methods.”
Zhou goes on to explain that many wealthy Chinese have bought their own farms so as not to be dependent on what’s available in supermarkets. “There are also reports of special plots of land used to produce food exclusively for senior government officials.”
As we previously reported, even as the Chinese government arrests activists who protest against the chemicals and toxins found in food grown on unregulated, factory farms, government agencies privately grow their own food for their staffs.
McDonald claims the scandals over contaminated food have become a constant worry for Chinese consumers, and mainland visitors to Hong Kong regularly flood food shops and market stalls, especially those near the border, to buy up goods that they believe are safer.
WTO Prohibits Country-Of-Origin Food Labeling in U.S.
If, as a US consumer, you think you’re safe from being exposed to food manufactured in China, think again.
Last year, the World Trade Organization ruled country-of-origin labeling is a technical barrier to free trade and therefore violates trade agreements the United States has with other countries.
Although meat will still be listed by country-of-origin, all other food products will not, such as honey. And more than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t real honey, most of which is from China.