China’s Honey Industry Shows Sour Side – Don Lee
From The Miami Herald:
Honey and thousands of other Chinese food products are showing up more and more often on dinner plates around the world. Last year, China said it exported $3.8 billion worth of food to the United States including vast quantities of apple juice, garlic, sausage casings, canned mushrooms and honey.
In any given month, though, U.S. customs inspectors block dozens of Chinese food shipments, including produce contaminated with banned additives and pesticides, and seafood tainted with drugs. In the wake of the recall of pet foods that American regulators believe contained tainted Chinese ingredients, China’s food-safety standards have become dinner-table conversation across the United States.
U.S. inspectors believe that the pet food was made with wheat gluten and rice protein from China containing the chemical melamine, used in plastic.Although officials in Beijing say there is no evidence that melamine killed American pets, they moved to ban its use in food, as the United States does. And President Hu Jintao said China must produce more chemical-free foods and do a better job of ensuring that producers follow safety standards.But as the honey business in this remote region in western China shows, major obstacles remain. [Full Text]