A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
House Foreign Affairs Committee, “Hearing – The Threat of China’s Unsafe Consumables,” May 8, 2013
Rep. Rohrabacher’s opening statement began:
“Who could forget that agricultural interests were the driving force behind various trading and trade-expanding understandings that our country has had with the communist Chinese regime in Beijing. Who would have thought that the People’s Republic of China would become a significant food exporter, especially of fruits, vegetables, seafood, and dairy products? The farming community, the agricultural industry puts so much effort because they just saw this as a market for their goods, never did they consider that these would be competitors and competitors that did not have to meet the same standards that they have.
Chinese industry has also become a major producer of drugs and chemicals used in both medicine and food processing and yes, and in manufacturing as well. Thus, the health and safety not only of the United States and Europe, but that of people around the world has become dependent on the quality of goods imported from China. Yet, the task of inspecting and testing Chinese goods is beyond the ability of governments. Considering the magnitude of that challenge, it is beyond their ability to do a good job or at least that is what I am suggesting. We will hear from our witnesses what they think about that.
Astonishingly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspects less than 2 percent of the food imports from China. This is a major security concern. Why? Because the record of Chinese quality in their food production is extremely poor. Indeed, CNN reported Monday that poultry workers moving to and from wet markets and farms may be responsible for the spread of the deadly H7N9 virus in China, read that, the bird flu virus. We import poultry now to feed animals, but the FDA may soon approve the importation of China poultry for human consumption. Now does this move make sense at all?....”