GARBAGE FOR DOLLARS
By Jon Christian Ryter
July 9, 2007
Counterfeit branded goods not only rob the companies which own the brands, they victimize those who purchase them because the counterfeit brands are easily identified as fake when they break down and the buyers find they have no warranty. With pharmaceuticals, the consumers unwittingly pay an even stiffer price for buying fake brands. In Panama and in the Dominican Republic, over 100 people died from ingesting fake cough syrup that contained diethylene glycol, a poison that is used in automobile antifreeze and brake fluid. Because of its sweet taste, the Chinese use it as a substitute for glycerin, an artificial sweetener. The same chemical was found a year ago in counterfeit Colgate toothpaste, leading the FDA to ban toothpaste imports—as well as other questionable pharmaceuticals—from China.
The Chinese simply farm the manufacture of the banned products to companies they owned in other countries and continue to bootleg inferior-grade branded goods. The Chinese moved their counterfeit toothpaste business to South Africa. Last week federal authorities found fake Colgate toothpaste containing diethylene glycol in eight Dollar Power discount stores in Baltimore and Silver Spring, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The tainted toothpaste is marked "Manufactured in South Africa," even though New York-based Colgate-Palmolive does not contract with any companies in South Africa to manufacture its toothpaste. It was distributed by MS USA Trading Company in North Bergen, NJ. MS USA spokesman Chris Kim denied culpability by saying "...[w]e do not make it. We don't import it. We buy it from a guy...[known to them only as Dialo)." Although the tainted Colgate-labeled fake toothpaste has been distributed only in a limited way in four States, good Colgate toothpaste is sitting on store shelves all over the country and shares for Colgate-Palmolive stock fell 61 cents by close of business last Thursday.
How do you know if the Colgate toothpaste you have recently purchased is real or fake? Colgate-Palmolive said the tainted product comes from South Africa—and its origin is on the box. They further noted that the fake toothpaste packaging contains a number of misspelled words including the incorrect spelling of its theoretic country of origin, "SOUTH AFRLCA," the "South African Dental Assoxiation," and two run-on words, "isclinically." If the Colgate toothpaste you purchased recently says it was manufactured in South Africa—take it back to the store and get your money back. If the store refuses to take it back, take the toothpaste to your lawyer since you do have legal recourse against the store if you purchased a bootleg product from them.
Although pharmaceuticals—and OTC health products—are the current concern, tainted drugs aren't the only problem. Also of concern are food products processed for human consumption from China that should not be here: dried apples preserved with cancer causing nitrofuran, also frozen shrimp, tilapia, catfish, eel, basa (similar to catfish and many times substituted for catfish), and dace (similar to carp—the sewer cleaner of the ichthyological world—which is not a human food product in the United States). The FDA found sardines coated with high levels of bacteria. Chinese monkfish—used as sushi—contained high levels of a toxin that is found from the deadly pufferfish. Over the last few months, several US retailers have begun to audit the "lineage" of the fish they purchase from China to make sure it has not been treated with banned antifungals. Leading the pack is East-coast grocer Wegman's who now trace the seafood they buy back to the farms where it was grown. When they lose track of the fish's lineage, they buy somewhere else. China has more problems with contaminated fish than any other nation in the world. Yet, the prospect of having China open the doors to 1.3 billion consumers is more than the financial-industrial complex can resist—at the expense of the rest of us.
China now supplies the US with 18% of the fish that ends up on the US family table, or is sold in US seafood restaurants, or ends up boxed as frozen entrees in US supermarkets or at your local Wal-Mart store. Today, the US-based Aquaculture Certification Council [ACC] which checks the quality of seafood products for buyers like Wegman's, Darden Restaurants (which owns Red Lobster™ and Olive Garden™) and even Wal-Mart which buys more goods from China that 80% of the nations who buy from China. Asked about their quality control system with respect to China, Wal-Mart,—which spends $18 billion a year in China—responded to USA Today with an email statement in which their spokesman, Kevin Gardner, assured the Gannett paper that "...[p]roduct samples are tested systematically before and during production by third-party testing labs, and our own qualty-control staff conducts product inspections as well." Foreign Tire Sales also tested the samples sent to them by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co.
China insists its state-owned fish farms do not use anti-fungals (malachite green and gentian violet) nor, they claim, do they use the banned micro-antibiotics, chloramphenicol or nitrofurans that have been found in at least 25% of the fish arriving in American ports. The antibiotics are used to kill a range of bacterial and viral fish ailments that are caused largely by unsanitary fish farms. China is not big on investing in its economic infrastructure since that would increase costs and make Chinese products less competitive on the world market.
China's behavior as an exporter of food products raises deadly questions. For example, the FDA has rejected fruits and fruit byproducts as "filthy" and, in some cases, contaminated. Prunes, tinged with chemicals to make them appear "healthier," contained chemicals not approved for human consumption. Mushrooms sprayed with DDT (which is banned in the United States) have been found in the US food distribution system. (Which brings us back to the pet food scandal and the reason for using melamine and cyanuric acid in wheat gluten and melamine rice protein.) Melamine is used as a pet food additive because it makes the grain appear to be higher in protein than it actually is.) One of the most surprising, FDA discoveries was Chinese herbal tea that was tainted with both carbon monoxide and lead. In China, the fastest, and cheapest way to dry tea leaves is by driving trucks back and forth over them, using the vehicle's hot exhaust as a drying agent. China still uses leaded gasoline—and it has no safety mechanisms in place that prevent entrepreneurs from using the most expedient means possible to get their products to market.
China wants to eliminate the need of buying chickens from the United States and pretend to process them. It wants USDA clearance to export "its own" poultry to the United States. What that really means is that China wants the right to sell the United States more poultry than we sell them. Beijing has suggested to Washington that it will not lift its four-year old ban on importing American beef (because of the mad cow scare) until they are allowed to export poultry to Americans poultry distributors. Richard Raymond, Undersecretary for Food Safety for the USDA said the Bush Administration is considering lifting the Chinese poultry ban because "...recent USDA audits have found China's poultry slaughterhouses are equivalent to those here." Yeah, right.
Anthony Corbo, a lobbyist for the Washington, DC advocacy group,. Food & Water Watch noted that USDA decisions are not subject to outside review, so when bureaucratic decisions are made, they are virtually cast in stone. Corbo noted this would be a bad decision for the American people given the fact that China's poultry slaughterhouses are unsanitary, adding that "...[e]veryone who has seen them gets grossed out."
In 2002, Congress enacted a law requiring country-of-origin labeling for agricultural products. Lobbyists for importers who fill the campaign war chests of Congressmen and presidential candidates have managed to stall the implementation of the law until 2008. Before this year is over, expect new delaying tactics. Opponents of the measure successfully argued that keeping track of the countries where specific imports came from would be cost prohibitive given that sources for products change from month to month. Lobbyists from groups like Food & Water Watch are lobbying to require any foreign-made products be assigned an origin-tracking ID number, and that American firms selling foreign goods be required to supply a tracking code on all products placed in America's distribution system. The vendor should be required to file documents with the FDA the country-of-origin for every product in the system. This would allow consumers to avoid buying any products or produce from countries with questionable safety standards.
Although China has steadfastly refused to initiate any meaningful safety reforms, it wants the world to believe it has. When the diethylene glycol-laced cough syrup was killing 100 people in Central America, 10 Chinese citizens were killed after being injected with medications containing diethylene glycol from the same company, Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. The 10 were patients at Zhongshan University No. 3 Hospital in southern Ghangzhou. Zheng Xiaoyu, a member of the ruling elite, and the head of the State Food and Drug Administration was tried for accepting a bribe from Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. Shanghai prosecutors charged a brother and sister in a scam in which they sold 4 million yuan ($523 thousand) worth of fake health food products in 64 cities across China earlier this month. Fan Tongxue and his sister, Fan Tongmei, could face death. Over 200 thousand people die each year in China from consuming fake medicines or unregulated pharmaceuticals.
The reason the United States—and Europe—is so forgiving of China's economic indiscretions is because they believe China will open its doors and allow its trading partners access to what could be the largest consumer base in the world. As a result, according to former assistant US Trade Representative Robert B. Cassidy, most American companies—and the US government—are "kowtowing to China" in spite of the fact that the Chinese continue to send adulterated, mislabeled and sometimes deadly foods, and counterfeits of some of America's best known brands, to the United States. But it won't happen. China has no intention of becoming a genuine trading partner with the world. It is willing to tolerate intrusions by the West only because China needs the types of consumers that only the industrialized world—in particular, the United States, can supply. People with a lot of discretionary income and not much sense on how and why they spend it.
Ming-jer Chen, a business professor at the University of Virginia and an advocate of global trade—particularly with China—feels a dramatic slowdown in the free world buying goods of all types from China could have devastating consequences. "There is a cost, a huge cost, involved if the companies or governments do not handle this well," he said. "This is a new concept for them—post-sale service, product liability, the notion of a recall—because they are newcomers in the global economy." Trade, as far as China is concerned, is a one-way street. China has mastered the art of the carrot on a stick. Only, their consumer market is an illusion. It doesn't exist. Yes, China has a potential consumer market of between 1.3 to 2 billion people. But, before you can call them consumers they must have an income of sufficient size to purchase the consumer goods they want or need. Only a very small percentage of the Chinese labor force— most of them are employed by American or European companies—earn an income of sufficient size to call them consumers. And China, selfishly, will not let American or European companies sell them the products and/or services that will drain their discretionary income.
China will allow the West to buy from China, but it will never fully allow Chinese vendors to buy from the West except in limited amounts—and only as long it serves the political interests and military objectives of Beijing. The US Trade Office is so enamored by the prospect of selling the largest consumer base in the world they've allowed themselves to be blinded by the simple reality that China trades with America only because it needs US dollars to buy the military apparatus necessary to destroy America and the free enterprise system. And, when you buy goods made in China, you are contributing to the demise of the free world. For part one click below.
here for part -----> 1,
© 2007 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
[Read "Whatever Happened to America?"]
Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.
China will allow the West to buy from China, but it will never fully allow Chinese vendors to buy from the West except in limited amounts—and only as long it serves the political interests and military objectives of Beijing.