CHINESE IMPORTS — ANYONE?

Excerpt from an article written by humorist Gregg Fields for the Miami Herald.

Note: This article was written over 11 years-ago and was a harbinger of the horrible Chinese import problem Trump is trying to solve nowadays.

It started with a warning on pet food. Animals across America had dropped dead after eating products imported from China. Yes, I admit to a fleeting fantasy of leaving a bowl out for the unleashed dog that thinks of my yard as a canine latrine, and fortunately I was protected personally because my cat, “Sox,” dines only on a U.S. made dry mix that costs $30 a bag.

Confucius

But most interesting was the Chinese response to the American outcry. I’m paraphrasing, since I don’t speak Mandarin, but I believe it translates to: “What’s the big deal?’ ‘Soon, the concerns started taking a human dimension. Chinese toothpaste, it turns out, could be contaminated. This had the potential to produce some interesting scenes in American life. Imagine a mother complaining to her child: “Are you brushing your teeth again? Don’t you know that’s dangerous? Go to your room!”

Chinese-dragon

The reports left me unsettled, so I drove to the library to do some research. The first search yielded an article about how Chinese tires were believed to be prone to blowouts and a U.S. importer wanted them recalled. That was scary.

I stopped at my favorite waterfront restaurant for a shrimp cocktail. After ordering, I perused other stories I’d printed out. One of them said some Chinese seafood had been banned due to potential safety problems. I looked at my plate and pondered: How exactly does one determine the national origin of a shrimp? All crustaceans look alike to me. Another report said a Chinese bread maker producing for the domestic market bulked up his buns with ground-up cardboard. Personally, I’ve long suspected a pizza place near my house of the same thing. Perhaps I was being alarmist. But as someone once pointed out, it’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you.

Chinese-dragon

Recently came the news that China had executed the head of its food and drug safety program. They didn’t say how, but the smart money is betting they made him brush his teeth after eating a seafood salad, then drive home at a high speed. The poor guy didn’t stand a chance. It made me wonder: Free trade creates wealth, but at what price?

Perhaps I could write a precautionary cookbook called Chinese Food in Sickness and in Health. To begin, I stopped at the market and bought some tofu, a bag of stir-fry mix, some sprouts and fried won-tons. They’re from Leasa, a company in Liberty City, Florida, USA. They cost a bit more than imported products. And they’re delicious.


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