September 28, 2008

Read The Labels

We should all be aware by now of the most recent of Chinese food adulteration scares, melamine in powdered milk product. It has caused thousands of illnesses, at least four infant deaths, and was thought to be only in infant formulas.

How amazingly uninformed was that? This contamination was not just something done at the point of manufacture for the formula. It was done at the point of bulk packaging, quite possibly at the initial milk processor. And infant formula is not the only thing containing this poison.

According to this article, "Chinese milk suppliers were found to be adding melamine to watered-down milk to boost its apparent protein content".

Watered down milk doctored with melamine has been found in a huge variety of products, including biscuits (crackers), candies, protien or snack bars, cookies, and others. There is no doubt in my mind that given that it was used to adulterate what was considered a "safe" ingredient, it is probably also in pet foods, cheese flavored products, sauces and sauce mixes... the potential reach of this staggers the mind.

How do you protect yourself from this? What can you do to make sure you and those for whom you are responsible don't end up affected by this?

Simply stop buying imported products, even the ones with domestic labels, and purchase local products. There are local dairies with excellent product in most vicinities. It is not difficult to find local bakeries which use locally produced milk, local creameries which use that same milk, and local grocers who sell locally produced foods. Make use of these vendors and producers and you not only make your own household safer, you also keep your dollars in the community and support your community's economy.

Here in the Indianapolis area, we have Trader's Point Creamery which sells through several local grocers, Good Earth Foods and Whole Earth Foods if you like grocers dedicated specifically to organic and natural foods. Even the more mainstream and locally owned Marsh chain of grocers gives you a fighting chance when trying to keep your purchases safe and your money local.

So resign yourself to the fact that you are going to have to be increasingly diligent when purchasing any consumables. Read every label, and if you see "Product of China" on any packaging, think long and hard before making that purchase. Do you really want that imported knock-off Twinkie-esque snack cake bad enough to take the risk? Is the adorable packaging on that candy your children want so bad for their lunches worth what the contents could potentially do to them?

Do what's right. By doing that, you make it harder for these products to enter your household and injure those you love.

Posted by Mamamontezz at September 28, 2008 09:37 AM | TrackBack