Beware of Food from Asia
Be VERY Careful About
Purchasing Food Products from Asia
China has banned the sale of hundreds of imported products from Taiwan.
The ban follows a warning that they were tainted with a chemical used in
plastics, DEHP, which can cause hormone malfunctions in children.
The more than 800 banned products include beverages, food and additives.
The Philippines, Hong Kong and South Korea have also limited imports or
sales of foodstuffs from Taiwan.
Yahoo Health reports:
"Authorities have arrested the owner of a company that used DEHP rather
than more expensive palm oil in products supplied to dozens of local
drinks makers. He faces up to six months in jail."
Yahoo Health June 4, 2011
Webmaster comments - If China banned it, then you know this stuff is
bad. I won't buy anything from China if I can help it. I don't think
anything they sell is safe. In fact if there is a way for them to make
it dangerous, I bet they'll find a way.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
DEHP (di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is a type of phthalate that is used in
plastics and personal care products. Like other phthalates, DEHP is
among a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to
a wide range of developmental and reproductive effects, including:
•Reduced sperm counts
•Testicular atrophy or structural abnormality
In the United States, you're likely to be exposed to this chemical
through plastics, such as vinyl flooring, shower curtains, and toys, but
they're also found in processed food packaging, medical tubing and
personal care products like nail polish, hair spray, deodorant and
fragrance. In Asia, however, DEHP has been detected in food products,
where it may have been intentionally added to a food additive to
substitute for more expensive food ingredients to save the manufacturer
Foods from Taiwan May be Tainted
Taiwan's Department of Health is currently investigating the
contamination of numerous foods and beverages with plasticizer chemicals
like DEHP. So far more than 1 million sports drinks, fruit jams, instant
noodles containing sesame oil packets, cookies and other food products
have been taken off shelves due to the toxin. It appears that the
chemical was being added to foods as a substitute for more expensive
ingredients like palm oil, and it's unclear how long this has been going
on or whether most manufacturers were aware of the contamination.
As reported by news outlet Xinhuanet:
"The plasticizer was illegally added to food and drinks as a substitute
for a traditional and more expensive emulsifier, such as palm oil. For
100-yuan ($15) worth of palm oil, the same amount of DEHP costs only
about 20 yuan [$3], said Li Shuguang, a food science professor at Fudan
University, during an interview with CCTV.
… According to Li's research, DEHP in food and drinks can cause cancer.
It also can lead to kidney or testicular damage and fertility problems
if it is consumed regularly and accumulates in the body. Children are
the most vulnerable group, his research shows."
Asian Foods Have a History of Contamination
This is only the latest food scandal to erupt from Asia as of late,
although usually it's China that is making the headlines. For the past
three decades China's economy has averaged nearly 10 percent annual
growth. Their economy is fueled by the largest migration the world has
ever seen. An estimated 140 million rural Chinese have already left
their homes and another 45 million were expected to join the urban
workforce by 2012.
However, the bulk of the Chinese are not benefiting from this massive
increase in economic growth. They are losing their connection to ancient
traditions in exchange for a piece of the "good life," which never
The Western countries that "benefit" from the explosive growth of
imported foods, such as fresh produce, from China have the potential for
some pretty dire health ramifications. The real price for cheap
strawberries year-round may end up being your health. China is now
almost as well known for toxic food ingredients as they are for
electronics. Especially in the light of the recent string of disasters,
•Pet food ingredients laced with toxic melamine
•Imported livestock quarantined for disease and banned chemical
•Catfish fillets from Chinese aquatic farms tainted with bacteria and
•Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical
•Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides
Most recently there was also the case of the exploding watermelons due
to the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron -- although to be fair this
chemical is also legal in the United States.
Contaminated Foods Quickly Make Their Way Around the Globe
The Taiwanese DEHP scare may sound far from home, but our global food
system makes it so Asian foods are easily attainable at your local
supermarket. On the bright side, this allows you access to certain
exotic foodstuffs you need to make your favorite authentic Chinese meal
at home … but it also exposes you to potential contamination issues like
the ones described above..
For instance, Chinese-raised fish, which are commonly sold in U.S.
supermarkets, are often fed a diet of chicken waste and human waste. And
to compensate for the lack of clean water they pump in antibiotics,
fungicides and pesticides—many of which are banned carcinogens in the
These are just a few examples of our "global food system," and the steep
problems it poses to food safety. When food is produced and distributed
on such a massive scale, contamination occurs on a massive scale as
If you shop at mega-stores like Wal-Mart, you can be guaranteed that
you're buying food from Asian countries; Wal-Mart is one of China's
largest trading partners. But you may be surprised to learn that even
stores like Whole Foods get some products from China, including foods
that are labeled organic.
The Safest Food Supply is Usually the One Closest to Home
The bottom line here is: know where your food comes from and how it's
produced. This may sound like an impossible task, and in many cases it
will be -- particularly if you depend on processed and commercially
farmed foods. Remember, this is true even of foods produced on a mass
scale in the United States, as these are also often contaminated more
than you might like to think.
So, in the long run, and as much as possible, you're better off getting
your food from a local farmer's market or community-supported
agriculture program (CSA). The food will be local, which means that it
will be fresher and also will help preserve the environment by
preventing the wasteful use of fossil fuels in transportation.
But, importantly, food grown on a smaller scale, and especially locally
grown organic food, is generally safer and more nutritious than the
factory-farmed food typically sold in grocery stores. At the very least,
when you get to know the farmer, you can be assured that plastics
chemicals are not being added to your family's food on the sly.
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