The problems experienced by Americans and others around the world with Chinese exports has now reached the US food chain, where inexpensive farmed fish have been found to contain a number of illegal and unhealthy ingredients. (Search this site for "China" for references to a number of other reported problems with their dietary supplements, personal care items, toys, etc.)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced it is blocking the import from China of five species of seafood until their importers can prove they are not contaminated. Dr. David Acheson, the agency's assistant commissioner for food protection, stated that "FDA is initiating an import alert against several species of imported Chinese farmed seafood because of numerous cases of contamination with drugs and unsafe food additives."
The species involved here are catfish, eel, shrimp, basa and dace, he said. (Basa is a fish much like catfish; dace is similar to carp.)
The medications cited include the antimicrobials nitrofuran, malachite green, gentian violet and fluoroquinolones. The first three chemicals have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. The use of fluoroquinolones in food-producing animals can result in antibiotic resistance -- something which is a great concern in these days of resistant strains and hospital acquired infections.
None of them is approved for use in farmed seafood in the United States. For many years now, US seafood farmers have been arguing that China is undercutting them and producing an inferior product.
"FDA is taking this action to protect the public health of the American people," the FDA representative said. He also admitted that the products "could cause serious health problems if consumed over a long period of time."
China is the world's largest producer of farmed fish, accounting for 70 percent of the total produced, he said. It is the third-largest exporter of farmed fish to the United States. In another piece of news today, China has been discovered by Brazil to be using fake Brazilian export certificates for their beef sales, claiming to buyers all over the world that Chinese beef is from Brazil. Unbelievable . . . I personally think it is time that we went on a "China-free diet" and ask our grocers where their food comes from before we purchase it for our family's consumption.