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Food Safety
Old 04-23-2007, 05:15 PM   #1
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Food Safety

We here at the DT household are in a Dilemma about whether food from certain countries is wholesome...
I know that food from the US is not going to be totally perfect, even organic or natural...but still there are standards and inspections that growers and producers need to deal with....we have a system...not always very proactive lately(thanks George :P ), but its pretty good..
I feel that I can trust most countries in Europe...

But I 'm not so sure about the rest of the world including Texas (just kidding )

Right now I'm looking at 3 bags of frozen organic veggies from Trader Joe's that say China on them...just assumed w/o looking that they were from here...

I've been reading that China is very polluted, very unregulated, also that some pets are sick or dead from some additive from China and that they just discovered the same stuff was fed to pigs and may have entered the human food chain...

Do any of you care one iota about this....am I just getting China phobia from some deeply held prejudice....am I turning into one big worry wart..should I just work on my golf game and trust the US food inspectors and TJ to check this stuff out...should I just pick a bag and cast my fate to the wind....
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-23-2007, 05:23 PM   #2
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Re: Food Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTien
We here at the DT household are in a Dilemma about whether food from certain countries is wholesome...

But I 'm not so sure about the rest of the world including Texas (just kidding )
Reason #78 on the ever growing list of "Why you don't want to consider retiring in Texas".

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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-23-2007, 06:34 PM   #3
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Re: Food Safety

The way I view it is simple. Grow it, pick it, can it, freeze it, cook it, eat it. The more I see from the pet food, peanut butter, spinach and meat packing industry the more I want to control the vast majority of my food supply chain. I do not want the pesticides, growth hormone, cloned junk food that the FDA pases off as ok for consumption. Until I can achieve what I really want, I shop carefully and freeze meats for a month in case of recall. Produce gets a double acidulated rinse. I use whole grains from smaller mills and pass on the commercially prepared garbage being passed off as food in the grocery stores or fast food joints.

Now & then I fall off the wagon and go out for happy hour or visit a bakery.

Moderation & vigilence is key.
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-23-2007, 06:41 PM   #4
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Re: Food Safety

I try to buy fresh from our local farmers markets in the summer. Living in Ca. provides us with a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables more so than other parts of the country. I'm not much of a worrier though. If I am going to get some weird bug from food then so be it. I'm fairly satisfied with the U.S safety record. Make sure you wash and throughly cook things.
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-23-2007, 07:43 PM   #5
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Re: Food Safety

I guess I go the other way on food safety. I have eaten raw beef 3-5 times
a week since I was in high school (30+ years). I do not follow food recalls
(for myself - I do for my dogs) and I started eating spinach again as soon as
it appeared in the stores. I figure constantly challenging my immune system
keeps it stronger (probably wrong medically, but it makes me feel better).
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-23-2007, 08:15 PM   #6
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Re: Food Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTien
But I 'm not so sure about the rest of the world including Texas (just kidding )
Nothing a little hot sauce and some jalapenos won't cure...
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-23-2007, 09:59 PM   #7
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Re: Food Safety

I wash it, cook it, eat it and hope for the best.
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-23-2007, 10:23 PM   #8
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Re: Food Safety

My sister, the late food scientist, NEVER bought any produce from South America...............

Once, I asked her why, she said:

"Because I've seen how they farm............NO THANKS"!!!
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-24-2007, 08:47 AM   #9
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Re: Food Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyclingInvestor
I guess I go the other way on food safety. I have eaten raw beef 3-5 times
a week since I was in high school (30+ years).
Sounds yummy but risky. Works for you though.

Ha
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-24-2007, 02:10 PM   #10
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Re: Food Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
My sister, the late food scientist, NEVER bought any produce from South America...............

Once, I asked her why, she said:

"Because I've seen how they farm............NO THANKS"!!!
Well, think about it this way. Farmers in all countries regularly spread cow crap on their fields to make things grow.

Remember that and wash your veggies accordingly.

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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-24-2007, 02:29 PM   #11
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Re: Food Safety

I did eat the vegs from China last night and am still upright...I think Congress either read my post yesterday or I have special powers or it's just a coincidence - they started hearings today on this very subject....heard on NPR today that less than 1% of imported food gets tested...

Peril at the table - Lawmakers explore 'serious flaws' in food-chain oversight

By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch Last Update: 1:16 PM ET Apr 24, 2007

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- In the wake of a string of food-contamination outbreaks, lawmakers expressed concern about the safety of the United States' food supply at a Tuesday U.S. House subcommittee hearing and called for improving the Food and Drug Administration's oversight.
U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said there are "serious flaws in our food safety net," and that not all companies have been forthcoming about contamination.

"What has the FDA done to prevent food-borne illnesses? It appears the FDA has decided to centralize food safety decision making in Washington D.C., cut back on inspections, and hope that food producers and manufacturers will self-police their industry based on voluntary guidelines," said Stupak, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
About 76 million people contract a food-borne illness in the United States each year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO added that 325,000 of those require hospitalization and 5,000 die.
Food safety has grabbed headlines recently with incidents of sickness caused by contamination of common household products such as spinach, peanut butter and pet food. Industry observers estimate losses of $37 million to $74 million just from the recent California spinach E. coli outbreak, according to the GAO.
"I don't see the latest string of incidents as an aberration. It's becoming a systemic problem and it calls for systemic solutions," said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.
The FDA regulates about 80% of the food supply, focusing on products such as fresh produce and seafood, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for about 20% of the food supply, focusing on meat, poultry and egg products.
The GAO's report is part of its "High-Risk Series" that intends to raise the priority and visibility of government programs in need of "broad-based transformation." The GAO noted that limitations on federal power to recall food -- currently food recalls are largely voluntary -- heightens the risk that unsafe food will be consumed.
"We've got to have mandatory recall authority," said U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash. "It simply beggars belief that we don't have a mechanism in that regard. The industry itself has a stake in the ability to stop the loss of confidence is these products."
Imported food in focus
Representatives also expressed concerns about imports, focusing on China. U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said it is "particularly disturbing" that China had resisted letting FDA officials inspect plants, and that "we must demand to have access."

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill, said it's important to regulate imported ingredients as well. "If someone wanted to attack the United States through its food supply, we have a frighteningly easy way for them to do it," she said.
Several House members said the FDA is not given enough funding, with U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., describing the "failure of this government to properly fund the FDA" as a "scandal." Almost one-quarter of the federal government's expenditures for food safety inspection are directed toward the FDA, which is responsible for regulating the majority of the food supply, GAO reported.
"The FDA system for overseeing our food is all but broken. We inspect only a tiny fraction of the food we import," said U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
Waxman said budget cuts have led to a decline in staffing levels, and that the FDA has inadequate resources, standards and enforcement. Last year, the FDA's food division had a $135 million shortfall due to increased personnel costs and new terrorism responsibilities, according to an October statement from Waxman. Between 2003 and 2006, the number of FDA field inspection staff decreased 12% to 1,962, with a larger rate of decline in federal inspections, according to the statement.
In February, the FDA said President Bush's fiscal 2008 budget proposal would advance public-health coals -- improving the safety of the nation's food supply -- and called for an additional $10.6 million to strengthen food safety. The overall proposed FDA budget exceeded $2 billion.
Tuesday's hearing was the first of two scheduled on food safety. Next month the subcommittee will hear from the FDA.
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-24-2007, 03:20 PM   #12
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Re: Food Safety

DT,

How about having a line added to your will that gets word to us on this if you should .... uh... become unable to. We'd kind of like to hear back if this doesn't work out for you.

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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-24-2007, 04:17 PM   #13
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Re: Food Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Well, think about it this way. Farmers in all countries regularly spread cow crap on their fields to make things grow.

Remember that and wash your veggies accordingly.
She wasn't talking about the manure..................

Ok, contaminated water, conaminated soil, but the goat and cow crap was less of an issue with her.................
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-24-2007, 05:42 PM   #14
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Re: Food Safety

The Zippers will avoid any food from China.

We eat local Southern Ontario produce in season and USA in winter.

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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-24-2007, 05:54 PM   #15
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Re: Food Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joss
DT,

How about having a line added to your will that gets word to us on this if you should .... uh... become unable to. We'd kind of like to hear back if this doesn't work out for you.

I'll have a lawyer post on the forum whatever/whoever it is that kills me. (as long as it's billable anything can be arranged)...I hope I die on the golf course after I shoot my age - I picked up a snapping turtle today at the range so I am one to take chances - this led to a conversation about how some turtles can live to be very old....you think the guy was pulling my leg about there being a turtle still alive that was around on the island (St. Helena ? Elba?) where/when Napoleon was exiled....
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Re: Food Safety
Old 04-24-2007, 07:00 PM   #16
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Re: Food Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTien
Right now I'm looking at 3 bags of frozen organic veggies from Trader Joe's that say China on them...just assumed w/o looking that they were from here...
I've been reading that China is very polluted, very unregulated, also that some pets are sick or dead from some additive from China and that they just discovered the same stuff was fed to pigs and may have entered the human food chain...
Very true comment on China. Research the recent pet food recall. The posining agent was added in China to trick the testing system into giving a higher protein reading. Look it up.

I would worry about food from China containing heavy metals, higher than allowed insect parts and improper animal parts. Just think about all the legislation over the last 100 years into getting the US food supply to be (among) the best in the world. Now remember that China doesn't have any of them.

Just think about lead in the USA. Europe banded the use of lead in paint and food cans about 50 years ago. The US didn't remove it from paint until the 1970s (I think) and food cans until the late 1980s (I think).

However, if you eat food from various sources around the world you should be OK.

Enjoy the veggies

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Re: Food Safety
Old 05-05-2007, 11:38 AM   #17
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Re: Food Safety

Trader Joe's got back to me on my food safety concern - message: food meets minimum US standards - they will continue selling Chinese produce as long as we continue buying it... but I've had my head turned around on this..I'm not buying food from China anymore and will try as much as I can to buy local , from my Co-op and be selective about which foreign country I do buy from ...guess I'm feeling not everything needs to be globalized.


Hello Dan,

At Trader Joe's, we have been dealing with standards and practices in
many different countries for over 49 years, and our buyers are diligent
about making sure our suppliers and the products they provide are not
below standards set in the United States. Certainly some companies in
China, and other parts of the world, are far behind the times... however
we do not do business with those companies.
As always, we allow our customers to vote with their
dollars. If nobody wants vegetables from China, those products
certainly won't be in our stores for long.
Thank you for your inquiry and thank you for shopping at Trader Joe's .

Kellye
Trader Joe's
Customer Relations
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