The Kitchen Think: Dying for Food Safety


Mama has always said you should know where your food comes from. You just can’t be sure what they’re feeding that “farm raised” tilapia… or if the produce about to hit your cereal bowl was juiced up on steroids. I’m glad some countries have stepped up their enforcement of food safety laws. Still, I never thought we’d get to the point where some countries were actually executing those who ignore the regulations.

Kind of makes me feel a little guilty for bad-mouthing some of those places…but not really.

Over the past few years, bleach, toxic chemicals, dye, steroids and a plethora of other substances have been found in food products from China. The list of problems is really pretty amazing:

• In 2008, six infants died and thousands more got sick after drinking formula with the industrial chemical melamine. The melamine was thought to boost the protein in the milk.

• Earlier this year, a prominent university in Eastern China claimed that up to 10 percent of the rice sold in China was contaminated with heavy metals, including cadmium (that’s what batteries are made with).

• Pigs were given growth-stimulating steroids that were later found in the pork sold in Chinese markets.

• Dye was used on stale dumplings and buns, repackaged and resold as fresh.

The Chinese Supreme Court now says that if someone dies because of food safety law violations those guilty of breaking the law could receive long prison sentences or even death. Government officials found to be in cahoots with the food-law criminals or to have taken bribes, are also subject to prosecution.

Why is this happening? Well, the reasons are obvious… money. Profits. Competition. Using additives helps cut costs and boost profits.

Thankfully, the Chinese have pulled back on some of their food exports to the U.S. and other countries. And the federal government here is cracking down, too. The USDA recently restricted some imported shipments of shrimp, tilapia and catfish after finding unacceptable amounts of antibiotics in them.

I used to buy these huge tubs of peeled garlic until I casually looked at the package label and saw “Product of China” clear as day. China is the world’s largest exporter of garlic and thankfully there have been no issues with garlic. Yet. But still, I’m not going to buy garlic from there for a while.

Learning where a product comes from by reading the label is your responsibility. Just like choosing whether or not to purchase the product. Just to be clear, I’m anti-tainted food, not anti-China… but I’m happy China is finally making moves to enforce their food laws and put people ahead of profits.

Like it? Share it!

posted under The Kitchen Think

3 thoughts on “The Kitchen Think: Dying for Food Safety

  1. Pingback: Mama's High Strung™ » Blog Archive » Extra Helpings: If I Freeze Garlic, Will It Still Keep The Vampires Away?

  2. angie

    I have bought the tubs of garlic on many occasions and never noticed where it came from. I will reconsider purchasing them in the future. Which reminds me: How long can I keep fresh Garlic in the freezer with and without skin?

    1. Mama Post author

      Thanks, Angie, for the question on Garlic. I’ll be posting an answer to your question soon, so keep logging on!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: