15, 2008, Volume
15 Nr. 7, Issue 238
Garlic Powder To Heparin.
We Are At War With Ourselves.
- Jozef Hand-Boniakowski
week I do the grocery shopping for the family. On a
quiet Tuesday evening, regardless of the weather, I head
out from our home in Vermont to cross the border
into New York state to acquire the week's provisions. The ten-mile ride is to the closest
commercial supermarket. One of the items on my list was garlic
powder. The baking aisle contained expensive McCormack seasonings as well as the
more generic house brand labeled Price Chopper "Always
Save". It did not matter whether I chose the
pricier version of garlic powder or the cheaper one, they
both contain the same ingredients: powdered garlic.
And they are both labeled: Product of China.
The Price Chopper
brand, "Always Save" has a cute red seal of quality on
the yellow container which reads, "100 percent guaranteed
quality". There is also the oxymoronic statement,
"Proudly distributed by Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
Kansas City, Kansas, 86106. www.awgbrands.com".
I proceeded to the customer service desk and told the polite
woman behind the counter that I wanted to be able to buy garlic
powder from garlic grown and processed in the United
States. She gave me an odd look as if no-one had ever
brought this up before and handed me a sheet of blank white
paper to write down my concerns and phone number and that she
would pass this on to the manager. I assume that she
did. However, it has been many weeks and I have not heard
from anyone at Price Chopper, Granville NY. Why am I not
- I find it odd and perverse that I am buying garlic powder made in China in
my local supermarket. I find it odd and perverse
when I cannot find garlic powder as a product of the
United States when Gilroy, California has laid claim to
being the garlic capital of the world! The waymarking.com
website states about Gilroy, CA, "Sometimes if you're
unlucky, you can smell garlic while driving through."
Why can I not buy powdered garlic made in the
USA? The answer for this question is the same as why
our hospitals are now using the blood anti-coagulant drug
called Heparin that is labeled, "Product of
China". More on this later. Garlic is
just one of many food items that come from
I cannot help but
think about the tons of garlic powder and other food imported from China. Try finding pine nuts, for example,
that don't come from China. With the on-going spate of
quality control problems of Chinese products, it is alarming
that so much food comes from that country and is consumed by
U.S. citizens. So, I went to visit the www.awgbrands.com
website and looked up their "quality insurance" which
states, "The Best Choice and Always Save products are
tested on a regular basis to make sure that they maintain
consistent quality. All products are tested an average of four
times a year." And
under "Always Save Products" the website states,
"Always Save products are a value-priced brand for those
customers who want the best price with a consistent quality.
These products have a 100% customer satisfaction
guarantee." I note that "consistent"
quality has nothing to do with safe quality and that
"customer satisfaction guarantee" has nothing to do
with customer health protection from contaminated food
stuffs. I hammered out the following email to Associated
Wholesale Grocers, Inc.,
is it that your garlic powder cannot be a product of the
United States? Made
from garlic grown in Gilroy, CA, the garlic capital of the
you not be more “proud” to distribute US garlic powder
than Chinese garlic powder?
May I also ask, how a capitalist enterprise such as
you are provides huge profits to the communist state-owned
industry of China? Can
you state unequivocally for me that the garlic powder is
it “four times per year” is hardly reassuring.
Can you unequivocally confirm that the Chinese
workers are not being exploited and abused in the growing of
this garlic powder? If
you have documentation to support your reply then I am
anxious to review it.
I look forward to your reply.
Finally, being in the heartland of the USA, why not
buy garlic grown in Kansas?
Why not be “proudly distributed by Associated
Grocers, Inc. of a 'Product of the USA' ”?
Wells VT 05774
of sending the above email, I received the following
original message was received at Sat, 16 Feb 2008 07:15:46
from provider-XXX-XX-XXX-XXX.vvvvv.net [XXX-XX-XXX-XXX]
Transcript of session follows -----
Deferred: Operation timed out with awgbrands.com.
Message will be deleted from queue
- Again, not
surprising. This corporate website markets the hype about quality assurance, not
the quality assurance itself. From the book, Food
Quality Assurance: Principles and Practices, we read,
"Food quality" is "distinct from food
safety" to the "extent to which all established
requirements relating to the characteristics of a food are
met." The consumer seldom is aware of the
"established requirements" of the
China trying to poison Americans and their pets?
April 2007, a Chicago Tribune article
- In April alone, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration turned back 257 Chinese
import shipments, far more than from any other country,
FDA records show. At least 137 of them involved food
rejected for reasons like 'filthy,' 'salmonella,' or
because it contained banned ingredients. A good portion
of the rejected Chinese shipments each month includes
fish and seafood, such as catfish, shrimp, mahi-mahi,
tilapia, eel and yellow fin tuna.
The Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has also refused the following products as being
"filthy": salted bean curd cubes in brine with chili
and sesame oil, teas, dried apple, dried peach, dried pear,
candy, dried round bean curd, dried mushroom, olives, frozen bay,
scallops, frozen Pacific cod, sardines, frozen seafood mix,
fermented bean curd, peanut milk. The definition of
"filthy" is, "the official term used
when inspectors smell decomposition or gross contamination of
food." So then, we should smell the food we buy
in the supermarket when it is labeled "Made in China"
or "Product of China."
The above FDA food
rejections took place in just one month. In May, 2007, the
Washington Post reported
that "dried apples were preserved with a cancer-causing
chemical", and that "scallops and sardines" were
"coated with a putrefying bacteria." China is
now the leading supplier to the United States of apple juice used as a food sweetener, garlic,
garlic powder, sausage casings and cocoa butter.
Wonderful. Only a very small amount of food imported
from China is inspected, perhaps about 1 percent. This
means that most contaminated products are making it to grocery
shelves in the United States. The Washington Post reports,
- For years, U.S. inspection
records show, China has flooded the United
States with foods unfit for human consumption. And
for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to
Chinese importers the small portion of those products
they caught -- many of which turned up at U.S. borders
again, making a second or third attempt at entry.
We should keep in
mind that the inspection statistics by themselves are
meaningless without knowing the standards that are used for
testing. Testing of the product is only part of the
problem. It is still possible, for example, for a high
quality product to make its way to supermarket shelves by slave
wage workers spreading "night soil" in the fields.
And what should we
do about vitamin C? The National Public Radio website
reports that, "China now supplies 80 percent of the world's
ascorbic acid — vitamin C." This website further
reports that the FDA term "filthy" refers to "a
product that is not fit for human consumption."
Chinese medicine and Chinese tea has been touted as cures for
many ailments. Yet, much Chinese tea contains heavy
metals. On September 30, 2005, the Korean publication
Yonhap Korea reported that "A sizeable portion of Chinese
tea for sale in South Korea is contaminated with lead and
insecticides." Cadmium was also found in Chinese tea
samples. Former deputy commissioner of the FDA,
William Hubbard, states about a process the Chinese tea
producers have used to dry their tea leaves:
- To speed up the drying
process, they would lay the tea leaves out on a huge
warehouse floor and drive trucks over them so that the
exhaust would more rapidly dry the leaves out,"
Hubbard says. "And the problem there is that the
Chinese use leaded gasoline, so they were essentially
spewing the lead over all these leaves."
I cannot help but
wonder if the garlic powder I bought was truck-dried in an
attempt to speedily take it to market. I no longer will
buy Chinese garlic powder. I will make my own homemade
garlic powder from garlic grown in local Vermont organic
farms and from my own garlic beds. But what about products
that I cannot make myself or find substitutes for that come
- Three times weekly we take a family member to dialysis. Every
so often this member has an
important procedure at the major state health care
facility. I always strike up conversations with the staff, both professional and
not. One told me that they were
concerned about the ever-increasing amount of medical
supplies and products sporting the "Made in
China" declaration. As a result, I started
looking for these items. Immediately I found packets
of Betadine, gauze, and alcohol wipes made in
China. The medical technician was wiping a client's arm
with Betadine prior to the insertion of two large gauge
dialysis needles. The Betadine was indeed "made
in China". Were the needles and tubing made in
China? I asked the technician about the Betadine
wipes and was told that most of the time the packets
are dry and the solution hard to spread.
On Aug. 16, 2007, the Bloomberg
news agency reported
on the Chinese production of counterfeit diabetic testing
A global manhunt launched by
Johnson & Johnson has tracked to China counterfeit
versions of an at- home diabetes test used by 10 million
Americans to take sensitive measurements of blood-sugar
Potentially dangerous copies of
the OneTouch Test Strip sold by J&J's LifeScan unit
surfaced in American and Canadian pharmacies last year,
according to federal court documents unsealed in June. New
Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J, the world's largest
consumer-health products maker, learned of the counterfeit
tests after 15 patients complained of faulty results last
Shooting Into The
Plumbing With Chinese Heparin
A technician from
interventional radiology told me that increasingly they are
seeing injectible solutions that are "Made in
China". They expressed their discomfort with this
trend, especially when it came to the important and common
injectible anti-coagulant called Heparin. And justifiably
so. Recently, the Heparin "manufacturer",
Baxter, voluntarily recalled a batch of its product. The drug
Heparin that is labeled as being manufactured in the United States
is made from an active ingredient that comes from a factory in China that
has not been inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration. Medications sold "Made in the USA"
offer no confidence that they were not made from ingredients made in China.
- A February 18, 2008 Chicago
never inspected Chinese plant making Baxter's heparin"
manufacturing plant that was never inspected by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration could be the source of a
potentially deadly allergic reaction experienced by hundreds
of U.S. patients infused with
Baxter International Inc.
's blood thinner heparin.
The FDA inspires little
confidence when it says of the suspect Chinese medical
- While no
inspection of the facility has been conducted to date,
preparations are being made to perform an inspection as soon
At War With
- USA Military expenditure for
2008 is just short of $650-billion. (Friends
Committee on National Legislation) Presumably,
these huge and obscene expenditures are to ostensibly make
the United States more secure. How secure will we be
however, when the food that we eat, the medical supplies,
drugs and medications, utensils that we cook on and with, just
about everything that we use to manufacture ourselves, is
manufactured in foreign countries? The military
budget with all its obscene "investment" will not make us any safer
when we willingly and consistently purchase the cheapest
product yielding the highest profit. The
contradictions of Capitalism mean that we who are living within in a capitalist economy are
always at war with ourselves. We want the cheapest products
and we are willing to pay less for them. But, by giving
up our manufacturing base we make ourselves vulnerable. As
our jobs leave and more people enter dead-end retail jobs
(selling goods made elsewhere) our job security, salaries
and wages are knocked lower. We then find ourselves
economizing by buying our products in Wal*Mart and dollar
stores where very little is U.S. made. The race to
the bottom continues.
Mark Morford, the
San Francisco Gate Columnist, in his article, "The
machine gun of capitalism" writes,
system is working just exactly as those in control of the
nation right now wish it to be working, with the most
dominant, ruthless corporations in the world....still making
the most money in the most destabilizing and environmentally
devastating manner possible, while poor uneducated kids die
like chattel in unwinnable wars trying to secure a tiny bit
more of the source of their profit.
somewhere in between, the nation's overall health and
well-being are sacrificed like dazed lambs to an
ignorant god, with our government offering up only the
most meager, desultory efforts to keep it functional so
as to not induce all-out fire-and-pitchfork revolt.
The ignorant god is profit
. The religion is the free market. And both have
made the consumer who objects to the products made in China
or anywhere else where safety takes a lower priority than the
sale of the product into enemies. Mark Morford makes
reference to "our government
offering up only the most meager, desultory efforts to....not
induce all-out fire-and-pitchfork revolt." That
revolt, however, is in the making.
When it breaks out fully, we will again go to war with
ourselves. It is what capitalism does and induces
best. This time, however, after the neo-liberal model
disappears, people will come before profits. The
capitalists will then have plenty of opportunity blaming and
going to war with each other. They deserve it.
are again confronted with one of the most vexing aspects of
advanced industrial civilization: the rational character of
its irrationality. Its productivity and efficiency, its
capacity to increase and spread comforts, to turn waste into
need, and destruction into construction, the extent to which
this civilization transforms the object world into an
extension of man’s mind and body makes the very notion of
alienation questionable. The people recognize themselves in
their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile,
hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment. The very
mechanism which ties the individual to his society has
changed, and social control is anchored in the new needs which
it has produced.
news 19 Feb 08:
- "The FDA thought it had
inspected the Chinese factory that makes the active
ingredient in Baxter International’s heparin. Turns out
the agency had actually inspected a plant with a similar