For centuries, people from all over the world have looked to traditional Chinese medicine for health and healing.
It is very unsettling to hear that the country we have looked to for natural healing may be exporting products that are unsafe for human consumption.
Indeed, Chinese traditional healing herbs and teas are skyrocketing in popularity in the US – and thus, Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about their safety.
As the horror stories about Chinese imports get scarier and scarier, American political leaders are stepping up their rhetoric regarding the safety of the food and other products that are imported from China.
Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer, (D) N.Y., believes American consumers are in greater danger than initially realized from food and other products coming in from China. He contends that “an import czar” is needed to make sure that hazardous shipments don’t slip through a maze of agencies and inadequate safety checks.
“There is no question that too many Chinese manufacturers and food producers put the bottom line ahead of safety,” said Schumer. “Agencies regulating the safety of imported goods need to do more to address this worsening crisis. The fact that every week we have to frantically pull Chinese goods off store shelves shows that our safeguards are failing.”
A major concern of the lawmakers is that he discovery of the toxic chemical melamine in pet food and powdered milk produced and imported from China could be the proverbial “tip of an iceberg” of other tainted products – as of yet undiscovered.
And there is some evidence that fuels this further concern. For instance, the FDA’s Import Refusal Reports in recent years have consistently shown China as a top violator of these regulations.
These FDA reports give a description of each item and a tag name designating why it was rejected. Descriptive tag names such as “salmonella,” “unsafe coli”, and “filthy” are reccuring themes in these reports.
In the past, over a given time period, the FDA has rejected more than twice as many food shipments from China than from all other countries combined.
It’s a dismal record to say the least.
However, consider these vitamin market realities:
Many of the world’s vitamins are now manufactured in China.
In less than a decade, China has captured 90 percent of the US market for vitamin C, driving almost everyone else out of business.
Chinese pharmaceutical companies have also taken over much of the world market in the production of antibiotics, analgesics, enzymes, and primary amino acids.
According to one industry group, China makes 70 percent of the world’s penicillin, 50 percent of its aspirin and 35 percent of its acetaminophen, as well as the bulk of Vitamins A, B-12 and E.
U.S. officials are demanding, and righty so, that the Chinese to do more to safeguard the food and drugs they export to America.
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt has warned in the past that any nation that loses U.S. trust in its exports will suffer economically. “Assuring the safety of food in large nations is a demanding proposition, whether it’s China or the United States,” said Leavitt. “And neither of our countries has perfected this process.”
Many experts reason that these problems are a consequence of food globalization.
For instance, have you noticed that on some ground beef chubs lately, you may see 8 to 10 countries credited as the source?
And with much of our produce being brought in from other countries, questions about its safety are also surfacing from health minded consumers.
In theory, food globalization is not a problem, as long as regulators do their job of protecting the public health.
Chinese leaders are understandably concerned about this export image crisis. They have stated time and again that their products are as safe as those from any other country.
They also profess to have reined in food and drug makers in their country – saying they have shut down more than 152,000 substandard food processing plants over the past 4 years.
The Chinese government have also performed executions on those found to be responsible for the melamine contamination scare and are set to prosecute more corrupt officials they contend are involved.
This problem left unchecked, could eventually force US companies who sell or manufacture nutritional supplements for people and pets to emphasize their ingredients do not come from China.
Indeed, some are threatening the use of “China-free” stickers on health related products.
Others say they will use the term “China-free” in advertisements and promotions.
That’s probably a little over the top, considering the fact that China is an established major player in the health food industry. And they do appear to be doubling their efforts against a relatively few crooked “profiteers” who try to “game for profit” their Chinese version of a private enterprise system.
US vitamin and supplement manufacturers are doing their best to reassure consumers their products are safe and wholesome.
As an example, US natural vitamin supplement company Institute for Vibrant Living has issued this statement in regards to ingredient safety and quality:
At Institute for Vibrant Living we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our products. Our manufacturers are required by the FDA to have all raw materials tested. The manufacturers also test each final product to make sure it meets label claims prior to distribution. In addition, IVL has procedures in place for independent labs to randomly test our products and manufacturers throughout the year. We feel that this three-fold approach should reassure our customers that no matter where our ingredients come from, we are doing our best to keep our products pure and safe.
David Flores is a natural health researcher for Institute for Vibrant Living, a top retailer specializing in all-natural supplements, vitamins, and minerals for many health and nutrition challenges. To learn more about the products offered by the Institute for Vibrant Living visit http://www.ivlproducts.com
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