May 18, 2007



Why import so much food?
by Jim Hightower

People are upset — their little Fidos and Fluffies are being poisoned by a chemical additive in pet food imported from China. And now it's been found in feed for chickens and hogs. Why isn't the FDA protecting us?

Well, inspections by the Food and Drug Administration are a cruel joke. Some 9 million shiploads of foreign food came into our ports last year yet the FDA sampled only about 20,000. That's barely one percent! Foreign suppliers know this, so they've turned America into an easy-access dumping ground for fish, grains, fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and other foods tainted with everything from cancer-causing toxins to illegal veterinary drugs.

But, wait. There's a much bigger issue here than FDA's poor inspection record.

Why in Holy Hell is so much food being imported into the US? In the past decade, food shipments to our ports have more than doubled, with shipments from China nearly quintupling.

China? We already have a massive trade imbalance with the Chinese, why increase it by buying catfish, nuts, wheat products and other common foods that our own farmers produce in abundance... and with great quality?

Can you say, Wal-Mart?

Wal-Mart, giant supermarket food chains, and the big food processors from our own country are steadily abandoning American farmers to get cheaper commodities and packaged goods from countries like China where farmers, workers and the environment are easily exploited. That's what these retailers and processors mean by "cheap" foodstuffs.

And now we're learning that "cheap" foreign food also comes at a mighty heavy price to us consumers. By the way, these are the same corporations that are trying to kill legislation requiring food imports to be labeled by country-of-origin.

To avoid their bad imports, buy as much of your family's food from farmers markets and grocery stores that feature locally grown food.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit www.jimhightower.com


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