I don’t eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, just not my thing, so I don’t have a dog in this race. I do however applaud them for informing consumers about the quality of their products and the quality of their ingredients particularly if the milk comes from cows with hormones and antibiotics. I like that and wish more companies would do that. But then along comes Monsanto that for some reason feels that informing consumers is a bad thing.
A “farmers group” backed by Monsanto (that’s spin for, Monsanto partner farmers who would lose money if you knew which was which milk) say it unfair that you know what is in your milk, that it creates a bias. Well, if Monsanto and these farmers feel their product is so safe, why not show us the studies? Why not open up their farms and show us how safe their milk is? But they don’t. They don’t have independent labs test either. So if their milk is so safe, why are they not doing what is expected in a capitalist system and show us why their products is better? Maybe because they know we know better than to fall for it and ignorance is the only way they can sell their chemical soup they label as milk.
I wouldn’t buy from Monsanto because they don’t’ know what capitalism is all about. The best product wins and that means informing consumers so the market can decide what is best. Monsanto knows it has a bad product and doesn’t want to play by the rules; they don’t want you the consumer to be able to make up your own mind. Of course if you don’t follow Monsanto’s made up rules, they sue the day lights out of you. Be a good consumer, don’t buy their products.
If these hormones are so safe, why are they banned in Canada, Japan and the EU? Monsanto hasn’t answered that question and until they do, you have no reason to trust them. Use your consumer voice and demand more labeling and more choice. We are told free trade and globalization is good for consumers because it gives us more choice, so why doesn’t that hold true for milk labels?
Well a busy day for recalls, also a rather gross day.
Now I never think of China when I think of chocolates but then that’s just me. But for some unlucky shoppers in South Korea, they found a little something extra in their chocolates and it wasn’t a caramel center. It was worms.
This is just breaking so it is hard to say where the worms entered into the chocolates, but it is still raising questions and the manufacture’s less than up front stand, only raised more questions.
A woman bought some flip flops from Wal Mart, only to experience what she says is basically a chemical rash burn on her feet. According to some news sources, Wal Mart is finally pulling these off the shelves. You can view the woman’s site, but I’ll warn you, it’s kind of gross at times.
And finally, paint sets and crayons are being recalled, again, made in China. I’ve lost count of how many children’s items have been recalled but the fact that it is in the millions already, is shocking enough. And the fact most of the Christmas toys are already on their way, means we can probably expect a lot more.
Filed under Branding, Business, China, Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Customer Satisfaction, Food, Globalization, Health, International Trade, Marketing, Recalls, The World, Trade
A fellow WordPress blogger has put together a list of the “55 Famous Toxic Foods From China.” Worth a look since this blogger does focus a lot more on China than I do. I’ve been reading his blog for a while and what he says is often inline with independent source of my own.
We have seen a lot of recalls of products made in China this year, a lot! The latest million plus product recall from Mattel just being the latest in a long line of and certainly not the last of recalls of China made products. At this point we have reached a critical mass in terms of awareness and demand for changes in the system. Many people around the world are now realizing just how little inspection is done on products being shipped. Living in the US, I’m more concerned with the US market. I expected the US government to do something to ensure confidence is resorted in imports yet they took the path of least resistance and of least impact.
The US government decided the best course of action was to ask China to clean up the growing problems it has with bad imports. And that’s it. Now I do think it was the right thing to do to tell China they should clean up their mess, environment, air quality, etc… But I think it was very wrong and reckless to stop at that. The job of product safety is the job of the companies that import and the government that allows those imports into the country. Instead it is now currently up to foreign companies and foreign governments to maybe play nice and follow our rules, a hand full of over worked inspectors and the consumers. Essentially, buyer be beware is our import policy in the US now, a major step backwards.
I don’t have my figures in front of me but I worked out the number of daily and hourly shipments each US inspector would have to inspect at the current levels of inspectors which is decreasing. It was in the thousands of shipments daily in order to inspect them all, which clearly is impossible to do. So we have a government that isn’t doing its job of looking out for the citizens. Understaffing our inspectors is bad for business as confidence erodes.
Companies claim to check for quality, but most do not tell you how they do it or make that information available to consumers so you just have to take their word for it and that’s just not good enough anymore.
The system and confidence in the system will not fix itself. The response by government and corporations who choose to import is far lacking. Consumer confidence is going to suffer and with it so will the economy and government and importing corporations will be the real root of the problem, NOT the consumers and not China. Why not China? Why are they going to change if we don’t change the rewards and consequences?
China is not going to change because we ask. It is not in their interest to change if nothing else changes. Consumers should act in their own interest and not buy from any company that is not open about where their products come from and how those products get to the consumer and the quality of the product and ingredients in them. That’s how consumers impact change. Corporations understand that mobilized consumers do take action and do impact profits. Never sit back, always be mobilized, that’s your job as a consumer!
The government needs to get to work on restoring consumer confidence. The best way to do this is hire more inspectors and ensure all imports are inspected and do meet the standards of this country. That way, consumers can be sure they are buying something of quality and of authentic origins. You can’t expect another government to do this. If China or anyone else ends up with a lot of rejected products as a result, that’s their problem to fix, not ours. Just as it is not their problem to fix our import issues.
Filed under Business, China, Consumerism, Food, Globalization, Government, Health, International Trade, Life, Politics, Trade
I have been lurking in a number of message boards online that have been discussion the China food safety issue. One thing that has caught my attention is the type of information I keep seeing. Now either the same person frequents the same boards I do, or there is something going on. I really don’t know. But so far I have heard in at least three boards the following lines, word for word:
“99% of imports to the US meet the FDA standards.”
“If you don’t buy from Wal Mart, you are anti Chinese.”
“You are a racist if you don’t buy Chinese products because of 1 or 2 bad products.”
I’d like to address each one. First of all, the FDA admits to inspecting only about 1% of imports. That does not mean the other 99% are up to US safety and health standards, that just means the consumer is left to figure out if it is or is not. The truth is, nobody knows what percentage actually meets US food and safety standards, since we don’t check enough shipments to determine this.
Not shopping at Wal Mart does not make you anti Chinese. As in any capitalist system, consumers are free to choose what supplier they do business with, that’s plain economics and not everyone likes Wal Mart. I don’t because I don’t feel Wal Mart the company is in line with my values. If they change their focus and become in line with my values, I’ll shop there.
And no, you are not racist if you don’t buy products from China. One thing I’d like to point out, there are many Chinese outside of China that produce quality goods that you can be assured are of good quality. So it is not a Chinese issue if you don’t buy products from China. Keep in mind, I don’t consider Taiwan part of China yet I do consider them Chinese. Second, it’s more than 1 or 2 bad products. Chinese is always in the top three of rejected products of those the FDA does inspect and the top source country of recalled products that are not initially inspected. So it is wide spread and across all sectors.
I think it is important to address these issues so that consumers can be aware of some of the tactics used. These are shaming tactics and very poorly done. Inform yourself as a consumer and be aware that you have a right to choose and be informed about how your products were produced, where and by whom. If those products do not match with your values or ideals of what you want to purchase, don’t let pressure tactics push you to buy what you truly do not want.
Filed under Branding, Business, China, Consumerism, Customer Satisfaction, Food, Globalization, Health, International Trade, Life, Marketing
I came upon this interesting article that was just released. Dominican officials are on the look out for what they call “strange milk from China.” The DR is a net exporter of milk to China, and the price in question is far below market value. This lead DR officals to put out a warning about this milk as it may not be up to human consumption levels.
They fear that, because the global price of milk is rather high, someone may be selling something that is not fit for humans, in order to make a quick buck. This would not be the first time DR has had problems with products from China. Like many other countries, they too, have had problems with tainted products and are very cautious of any more possible problems.
It is good to see the DR officials are on this rather fast. It seems they may have learned from past experiences.
Zhou Qing is a man I’ve heard a lot of, he is the guy that goes around researching how bad the problems are in China in terms of food and health safety. He has taken a lot of abuse in his quest and he’s a guy that we should all thank for at least trying to make our food better.
In this article which takes us on his tour of a factory in China, the common practices of the lack of food safety are enough to shock anyone. In fact is you just ate lunch, you probably don’t want to read this. There are some minor parts that get rather graphic and the ingredients are enough to make you want to vomit. Read about it Here.