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Collected melamine taint stories
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As a follow-on to yesterday's post about how Harper's Conservatives let people die of tainted meat to save money, below is a list of everything that has been found to have used melamine-laced food products from China. John Aravosis of AmericaBlog wonders, "Just how many companies are using China to make our food?"

Good question, but apparently nobody knows. More tainted food products are being discovered every day: Most of the tainted feed given to animals was made in Canada with wheat gluten imported from China. But surely we learned from the tainted pet food scandal? Oh right, the ruling Conservatives decided to let companies write their own safety inspection reports. Apparently not. Some of that wheat gluten was imported and used in Vancouver, so we're particularly at risk.

The US Food and Drug Administration has stated that animals fed the tainted feed are "probably" safe to eat. I'm "probably" going to say they're "probably" not doing their job if that's the best assurance they can "probably" give. Then again the FDA has also cut out inspections despite food problems.

That sounds suspiciously familiar to how food safety works in China. Evidently, the first Chinese company (of several now found) to be selling melamine-tainted milk products failed to voluntarily report food safety problems for half a year. To make matters worse, the local government agency to which they eventually reported tried to keep it under wraps for another month. The word "inspection" doesn't appear anywhere. Even worse, the milk products were deliberately doped with melamine to make them test higher for protein content.

How long before we have our own home-grown scandal (I mean, other than the existing Maple Leaf Foods scandal) that has the added pain of a company cover-up to shore up its hurting stock price? The current financial crisis certainly makes that kind of desperation more likely.

So, who in North America is making sure food is safe? Apparently, both the Conservatives and the Republicans are busy gutting Canada and the US's food inspection agencies. That leaves... Mexico? No wonder that cruise ship warned passengers not to drink the water in Saint John.

(As a Freudian aside, I keep typoing "Harper" as "Harmer". I only just noticed and had to correct it twice.)