Group Finds More Fake Ingredients in Popular Foods

By JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL | Good Morning America –

 

ABC News Video

It’s what we expect as shoppers—what’s in the food will be displayed on the label.

But a new scientific examination by the non-profit food fraud detectives the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), discovered rising numbers of fake ingredients in products from olive oil to spices to fruit juice.

“Food products are not always what they purport to be,” Markus Lipp, senior director for Food Standards for the independent lab in Maryland, told ABC News.

In a new database to be released Wednesday, and obtained exclusively by ABC News today, USP warns consumers, the FDA and manufacturers that the amount of food fraud they found is up by 60 percent this year.

USP, a scientific nonprofit that according to their website “sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide” first released the Food Fraud Database in April 2012.

The organization examined more than 1,300 published studies and media reports from 1980-2010. The update to the database includes nearly 800 new records, nearly all published in 2011 and 2012.

Among the most popular targets for unscrupulous food suppliers? Pomegranate juice, which is often diluted with grape or pear juice.

“Pomegranate juice is a high-value ingredient and a high-priced ingredient, and adulteration appears to be widespread,” Lipp said. “It can be adulterated with other food juices…additional sugar, or just water and sugar.”

Lipp added that there have also been reports of completely “synthetic pomegranate juice” that didn’t contain any traces of the real juice.

USP tells ABC News that liquids and ground foods in general are the easiest to tamper with:

  • Olive oil: often diluted with cheaper oils
  • Lemon juice: cheapened with water and sugar
  • Tea: diluted with fillers like lawn grass or fern leaves
  • Spices: like paprika or saffron adulterated with dangerous food colorings that mimic the colors

Milk, honey, coffee and syrup are also listed by the USP as being highly adulterated products.

Also high on the list: seafood. The number one fake being escolar, an oily fish that can cause stomach problems, being mislabeled as white tuna or albacore, frequently found on sushi menus.

National Consumers League did its own testing on lemon juice just this past year and found four different products labeled 100 percent lemon juice were far from pure.

“One had 10 percent lemon juice, it said it had 100 percent, another had 15 percent lemon juice, another…had 25 percent, and the last one had 35 percent lemon juice,” Sally Greenberg, Executive Director for the National Consumers League said. “And they were all labeled 100 percent lemon juice.”

Greenberg explains there are indications to help consumers pick the faux from the food.

“In a bottle of olive oil if there’s a dark bottle, does it have the date that it was harvested?” she said. While other products, such as honey or lemon juice, are more difficult to discern, if the price is “too good to be true” it probably is.

“$5.50, that’s pretty cheap for extra virgin olive oil,” Greenberg said. “And something that should raise some eyebrows for consumers.”

Many of the products USP found to be adulterated are those that would be more expensive or research intensive in its production. “Pomegranate juice is expensive because there is little juice in a pomegranate,” Lipp said.

But the issue is more than just not getting what you pay for.

“There’s absolutely a public health risk,” said John Spink, associate director for the Anti-Counterfeit and Product Protection Program (A-CAPPP) at Michigan State University. “And the key is the people that are unauthorized to handle this product, they are probably not following good manufacturing practices and so there could be contaminates in it.”

Spink recommends purchasing from “suppliers, retailers, brands, that have a vested interest in keeping us as repeat customers.”

Both the FDA and the Grocery Manufacturers Association say they take food adulteration “very seriously.”

“FDA’s protection of consumers includes not only regulating and continually monitoring food products in interstate commerce for safety and sanitation, but also for the truthfulness and accuracy of their labels,” the FDA said in a statement to ABC News.

Most recently the FDA issued an alert for pomegranate juice mislabeled as 100 percent pomegranate juice, as well as one for the adulteration of honey.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America told ABC News in a statement that “ensuring the safety and integrity of our products – and maintaining the confidence of consumers – is the single most important goal of our industry,” and that their members have “robust quality management programs and procedures in place, including analytical testing, to help ensure that only the safest and highest quality products are being offered to consumers.”

Chinese workers revolt over 2-minute toilet breaks

Chinese Revolt Bathroom breaks Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company

BEIJING (AP)

About 1,000 workers at Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company held the 10 Japanese nationals and eight Chinese managers inside the factory in Shanghai starting Friday morning until 11.50 p.m. Saturday, said a statement from the parent company, Shinmei Electric Co., released Monday. It said the managers were released uninjured after 300 police officers were called to the factory.— Hundreds of Chinese factory workers angry about strictly timed bathroom breaks and fines for starting work late held their Japanese and Chinese managers hostage for a day and a half before police broke up the strike.

A security guard at the Shanghai plant said Tuesday that workers had gone on strike to protest the company’s issuing of new work rules, including time limits on bathroom breaks and fines for being late.

“The workers demanded the scrapping of the ridiculously strict requirements stipulating that workers only have two minutes to go to the toilet and workers will be fined 50 yuan ($8) if they are late once and fired if they are late twice,” said the security guard, surnamed Feng. “The managers were later freed when police intervened and when they agreed to reconsider the rules.”

The plant makes electromagnetic coils and other electronic products. It was closed Tuesday, said a man who answered at the plant but refused to identify himself. He said no workers were on strike and staff would return to work on Wednesday.

Strikes have become commonplace in China, as factories operating in highly competitive markets try to get more productivity from their labor force and workers connected by mobile phones and the Internet become more aware of their rights.

Shinmei Electric’s statement didn’t say specifically what the workers were protesting, but said management reforms and labor policies were believed to be a cause. It said talks were under way with workers at the plant and that police were questioning staff.

A man who refused to give his name from the press office of the Shanghai police bureau said he had no information about the incident and referred calls to the Shanghai government press office, where calls rang unanswered.

 

U.S. dairy, poultry producers press for Canada market openings

reuters

A dairy farm on the banks of the Columbia River

Canada uses supply controls to help poultry, dairy farmers

* US producers see 2nd chance in Trans-Pacific Partnership

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – The United States must fix mistakes it made in the North American Free Trade Agreement by insisting in new trade talks with Canada on unrestricted access to that country’s poultry and dairy market, U.S. agricultural groups said on Monday.

“All we’re asking is that we have an open and free fair trade shot at the border,” Bill Roenigk, senior vice president at the National Chicken Council, said at a hearing conducted by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact.

Canada’s Conservative government, sensitive to sentiment in vote-rich Eastern Canada, has long said it will maintain supply-management measures for dairy, poultry and egg farmers. These measures largely entail matching production to domestic demand and levying high tariffs to discourage imports.

However, the government has also said all goods are subject to negotiation, both in talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership among 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and in free-trade discussions with the European Union.

Four-fifths of Canada’s 13,200 dairy farmers live in Ontario and Quebec, populous provinces that are generally critical to election success.

Roenigk said U.S. producers thought NAFTA, which went into force in January 1994, would eliminate tariffs on U.S. poultry exports to Canada and were shocked when Ottawa, as well as a NAFTA dispute settlement panel, took the opposite view.

Now that the United States has a second chance to address Canada’s poultry tariffs, the U.S. industry’s “view on this is the old Irish proverb: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” Roenigk said in his prepared remarks.

“The U.S. poultry industry strongly opposes Canada’s participation in the TPP unless Canada expressly commits to removing all border restrictions on poultry imports from the United States,” he said.

Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president at the National Milk Producers Federation, said U.S. dairy producers were also disappointed NAFTA did not open up Canada’s market and were determined not to let that happen again.

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China’s “wild east” drug store

reuters

Philippe Andre, a detective in the murky world of Chinese pharmaceuticals, has some alarming tales to tell.

In May last year, he visited a factory an hour outside Shanghai that supposedly produced a pharmaceutical ingredient. While shown around by men wearing protective clothing and spotless hard hats, Andre noticed oddities: the floor was immaculately clean and some workers sat around idle.

The factory had an inspection log that spanned eight years with perfect record-keeping, but the handwriting was the same for all those years and not a single page was dog-eared. What’s more, while the factory had equipment to dry its product, there were no connecting pipes to funnel steam or waste gases out of the plant.

“Obviously the product was not made there,” said Andre, a Belgian who runs a pharmaceutical auditing firm in the eastern Chinese city of Tianjin that advises foreign drug companies buying ingredients in China. The building, he says, was just one of the “showroom” factories intended to disguise China’s thriving industry in substandard and counterfeit drugs.

Four years ago, Beijing promised to clean up its act following the deaths of at least 149 Americans who received contaminated Chinese supplies of the blood-thinner heparin. But an examination by Reuters has found that unregulated Chinese chemical companies making active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) are still selling their products on the open market with few or no checks.

Interviews with more than a dozen API producers and brokers indicate drug ingredients are entering the global supply chain after being made with no oversight from China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), and with no Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification, an internationally recognized standard of quality assurance.

“There is falsification of APIs going on, we know it,” said Lembit Rago, coordinator for Quality Assurance and Safety in Medicines with the World Health Organisation (WHO). “The regulated markets like Europe and the United States are relatively safe because they have well-resourced regulatory authorities. But the situation is different in places like Africa, where there are a lot of local medicine manufacturers who all use APIs from China.”

The export of unregulated drug ingredients may be putting lives at risk, particularly in poor countries where local pharmaceutical controls are minimal. Medicines containing faulty active ingredients or the wrong dose do not work properly and can contribute to the emergence of drug-resistant strains of dangerous diseases, such as malaria.

DOMINANT PRODUCER

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Cantaloupes linked to deadly multistate Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak

— Two deaths and multiple cases of illness across 20 states have been linked to cantaloupes contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
State and federal health officials are advising consumers to discard all cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana, as tests have found evidence of the same strain of salmonella bacteria associated with a multi-state outbreak that health officials say is still ongoing.

The outbreak, which began in July, has been linked to two deaths and sickened at least 50 people in Kentucky. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s website, a total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 20 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The agency cautions consumers not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the cantaloupe, or cut through the outer surface, as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the fruit.

Consumers with questions about food safety are encouraged to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides these recommendations for preventing Salmonellosis

– Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.

– Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.

– Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people in a normal state of health who ingest Salmonella-tainted food may experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which typically begin within 12 to 72 hours. This may be accompanied by vomiting, chills, headache and muscle pains. These symptoms may last about four to seven days, and then go away without specific treatment, but left unchecked, Salmonella infection may spread to the bloodstream and beyond and may cause death if the person is not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune symptoms should practice extreme caution, as salmonellosis may lead to severe illness or even death.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration found Listeria monocytogenes on a honeydew melon and at a packing facility in Faison, North Carolina, but no illnesses have been reported.

In 2011, the number of deaths linked to a listeria outbreak in cantaloupe rose to 29, topping a 1985 mark for the most deaths among adults and children. Experts say the third-deadliest U.S. food outbreak was preventable.

Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/money/consumer/cantaloupes-linked-to-deadly-multistate-salmonella-typhimurium-outbreak#ixzz247HWdmdS

Betrayal of the American Dream’ analyzes how the middle class came under siege

By Hector Tobar Los Angeles Times

You may be old enough to remember the era in the United States lamented for its passing by authors Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele on nearly every page of their new book, “The Betrayal of the American Dream.”

In that bygone America, you could buy bell-bottom pants, a color television or a pair of high-platform shoes and very likely find a label on those products saying “Made in the U.S.A.” American companies made big profits, but they invested in the local communities where their products were made. The rich paid their fair share in taxes.

Bartlett and Steele pinpoint the moment when this America began to disappear as June 1979. More people were employed at U.S. factory jobs at that time than during any month before or since. About the same time, the share that the wealthiest Americans paid in taxes began to fall sharply.

American factory jobs soon started migrating to Mexico, and then to China. Not long afterward, all sorts of other tasks once performed by the guy next door — including your friendly customer service representative — were performed elsewhere, such as Bangalore, India, and Taipei, Taiwan.

Since then, three decades of laissez-faire business strategies and government policies have undercut the American middle class and the underpinnings of American democracy. At least, that’s the central argument of “The Betrayal of the American Dream,” a book that’s essential reading for those trying to make sense of our country’s current malaise.

Since the 1980s, a host of politicos, both Republican and Democrat, have sold their business-friendly reforms to the American people in the name of economic efficiency: Corporate America saves, and we all save! But the real winner, Bartlett and Steele argue, is the American “ruling class.” Among other things, the economic elite have quietly, methodically and ruthlessly restructured the tax code on behalf of the wealthiest Americans, the authors say. Tax cuts on unearned income and carried interest allow the richest of the rich to pay less income tax with each passing year.

“America’s founders, who were very well aware of how the aristocracy rigged the system to guarantee its own perpetuation, up to and including the king, would shudder,” Bartlett and Steele observe. With the American middle class under assault, the United States now is increasingly divided between rich and poor. In “The Betrayal of the American Dream,” the U.S. ruling class is portrayed as eating the American middle class for lunch and giving the leftovers to the impoverished, incipient middle classes in China and India.

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U.S. Mill Re-Opens To Meet China’s Rising Demand For Diapers

by JACOB GOLDSTEIN

Southern U.S. Loblolly Pine Picture:Beth J. Harpaz/AP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Virginia paper mill that shut down a few years back is reopening to meet rising demand from China and India.

The mill is “gearing up to begin producing fluff pulp—the soft, white absorbent used in diapers, tampons, and some medical bandages,” this morning’s WSJ reports.

Fluff pulp is apparently made from the fibers of a type of pine tree that grows well in the Southern U.S., so it makes sense to make it in U.S. factories and ship it to Asia.

U.S. workers selling stuff to the rising middle class in China and India is, of course, good news. And it’s the sort of thing we’re likely to hear more of, for several reasons.

* China’s leaders want to shift the economy away from an over-reliance on construction projects and toward more middle-class consumption.

* Millions of Chinese people are moving into the middle class.

* Made-in-America is a mark of quality in China.

* China’s currency has been getting stronger relative to the dollar, which makes U.S. products are cheaper for Chinese consumers.

One exporter we visited in Shanghai last year said she saw a big future in selling U.S. imports in China.

“We would love to buy products from the U.S.,” she said. “We have seen what is happening in China, so we believe the market needs to turn.”

Source:http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/08/13/158698126/a-u-s-mill-re-opens-to-meet-chinas-rising-demand-for-diapers

Cheaper Produce at the Farmers Market? It’s True

source:By Kara Reinhardt, Cheapism.com

Farmers markets tend to be thought of as the province of the well-to-do, peddling things like $12 heads of organic lettuce and edible chrysanthemum leaves. But with more than 7,000 farmers markets across the country, according to the USDA, surely their appeal must extend beyond cost-blind locavores. Indeed, the few studies of farmers market prices we’ve found show that consumers on a budget can actually save on locally grown fruits and vegetables this time of year.

Can you save money by shopping at the farmer's market?

Can you save money by shopping at the farmer’s market?

A 2011 survey by consulting firm SCALE Inc.found that farmers market prices were equal to or cheaper than supermarket prices about three-quarters of the time. The primary exceptions were free-range meat and eggs, which cost an average of 10% more than free-range products at grocery stores and 47% more than conventionally raised products. The items in the study included apples, bell peppers, zucchini, potatoes, butternut squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, chicken, eggs, ground beef, and other everyday foods.

SCALE surveyed prices last summer at two dozen farmers markets in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The study compared each farmers market to two nearby grocery stores and found that shopping at the farmers market yielded an average savings of 12% when comparing like items (i.e., organic apples to organic apples). However, when the study’s author simply sought out the cheapest available item (paying no attention to whether poultry was free-range or conventionally raised, for example), slightly more than half the time he found it at the supermarket. This suggests that consumers who don’t make a point to buy organic produce and grass-fed meat may not see the same savings at the farmers market as shoppers who do.

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How a Bill(ionaire) Becomes a Law(maker)

It will take millions of people to defeat billions of dollars. Join us at http://www.unpac.org!

Super PACs and special interests have turned our politicians into money junkies only out for their next fix. We have to fight back before this becomes the new normal in American politics.

All American Clothing Co. Continues to ‘Grow and Sew’

Expanding in New Village of Arcanum, Ohio Location

All American Clothing Co. Continues to ‘Grow and Sew.’ The All American Clothing Co. is pleased to announce the creation of new jobs in Arcanum, OH.

The Village of Arcanum welcomes the All American Clothing Co. to its industrial location with the announcement of a new headquarters for the USA Made clothing company. The new 45,000 square foot location will feature a substantial amount of warehousing space, a showroom, a retail store, and main offices for its employees. The All American Clothing Co. also plans on installing a manufacturing facility within the next year.

With its latest expansion, the All American Clothing Co. is pleased to announce the creation of new jobs in Arcanum, OH. Offering a USA Made product can create up to $15.7 billion if every American (313,793,643 citizens) spent $50 a year on one USA Made clothing item. That number alone can create thousands of jobs for American citizens. “We care about our country and the people in it; if we were only in it for money we would move our production overseas. We will not trade American jobs for foreign profits,” said BJ Nickol, Co-Founder of All American Clothing Co.

The All American Clothing Co. was founded by Co-Owner Lawson Nickol in 2002. Prior to this, Lawson worked for another USA Made jeans manufacturer and was on his way to a promising retirement. While shopping one evening, Lawson made a damaging discovery. He discovered his employer`s jeans in a store with a tag that said ‘Made in Mexico.’ The company he worked for had begun to outsource. He immediately sent in his resignation and started a family owned clothing company along with his son BJ and wife Mary Ann. Together, they instilled the same American Made core values that he believed in and established the All American Clothing Co.

Today the Nickol family continues to operate the company that supplies Americans with products that they can be proud to wear. The family and the employees believe the USA label will always stay on their jeans because of the importance of USA Made. When consumers buy a pair of All American Jeans, the Made in USA label also means thank you from the company, its employees, and the people in America who still have good jobs due to folks like you. Thank you from all of us.

To schedule an interview with Lawson Nickol, BJ Nickol, and/or All American Clothing Co. employees in Arcanum, OH please contact Logan Beam by phone at (888) 937-8009 or by email at logan(at)allamericanclothing(dot)com

 

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