US senator targets China imports

Leading China critic urges greater protections following series of health alerts.

    Tainted toothpaste is among several Chinese-made products to have come under suspicion [AP]

    A statement from Schumer's office said a "maze" of federal agencies – with different regulations, rules and protocols – have proved ineffective at protecting American consumers from dangerous Chinese products including pet food and toothpaste tainted with industrial chemicals.

     

    Tainted Chinese goods


    Beijing has "guaranteed" the safety of its products, especially food, saying it has closed 180 factories in the past six months over poor standards.

    But many countries have banned, recalled or raised concerns over Chinese imports. 

    United States
    Fish shrimp and eel found to have traces of antibiotics and antifungals

    Pet food said to be tainted with melamine, a chemical used in plastics and fertilisers

     

    Filthy frozen crab meat, roasted eel laced with unsafe additives and tilapia tainted by salmonella

    Japan

    Toothpaste made with diethylene glycol, a toxic ingredient in antifreeze; antibiotic or pesticide residues in food products

     

    Europe 

    Excessive antibiotic or pesticide residues in shrimp, honey and other products

     

    Hong Kong

    Turbot found to contain traces of malachite green - potential cancer-causing chemical used to treat fungal infections

     

    China

    Babies die after being fed fake baby formula, cancer-causing dyes injected into eggs to make yolks redder, and children given saltwater passed off as vaccines

    A series of Chinese import recalls and food scares has subjected the Food and Drug Administration to criticism over low inspection rates.

     

    Last week the agency said it would bar imports of Chinese farmed catfish, shrimp and other seafood, in the latest in a string of alerts over contaminated or defective products from China.

     

    Schumer's office urged the FDA to immediately implement new rules requiring all food, vitamin and cosmetic companies to list the origin of all ingredients that came from outside the US.

     

    Schumer also urged the FDA to stop giving Chinese manufacturers prior notice of inspections and to collect sample products when inspecting foreign facilities.

     

    There is growing frustration in the US congress over record trade deficits with China.

     

    As a result, Schumer and several other members of congress have seized on Chinese import recalls to bolster their case that the trade gap should be used to press China for currency reform.

     

    Schumer was one of a bipartisan group of senators which introduced a bill last month aimed at giving the US treasury department new tools to press China to speed up the revaluation of the yuan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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