Kudos to Trader Joe's.
When customers expressed concerns with possible safety issues with imported food from China, Trader Joe's responded.
Trader Joe's, which has about 300 stores around the country, plans to phase out any single-ingredient food items sourced from mainland China by April 1.
It will replace the goods with "products from other regions until our customers feel as confident as we do about the quality and safety of Chinese products," the [Trader Joe's] statement said.
Click here to read the full LA Times story.
You guys ARE familiar with the whole "Melamine" situation?
This has been an ongoing situation with imported food from China.
Here is what the FDA has to say about it.
Quoting from the FDA's Release, updated last week, 2/6/08 -
FDA Pet Food Recall (Melamine)/Tainted Animal Feed
Here's the FDA's synopsis of the melamine issue:
On March 15, 2007, FDA learned that certain pet foods were sickening and killing cats and dogs. FDA found contaminants in vegetable proteins imported into the United States from China and used as ingredients in pet food.
This is serious stuff folks.
Hundreds of dogs and cats died suddenly from kidney failure.
A portion of the tainted pet food was used to produce farm animal feed and fish feed. FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered that some animals that ate the tainted feed had been processed into human food. Government scientists have determined that there is very low risk to human health from consuming food from animals that ate tainted feed...
As a result of FDA and USDA's comprehensive investigation, on February 6, 2008, FDA announced that two Chinese nationals and the businesses they operate, along with a U.S. company and its president and chief executive officer, were indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a scheme to import products purported to be wheat gluten into the United States that were contaminated with melamine.
But, more frighteningly...
Adulterated feed was eaten by U.S. hogs
and resulted in an FDA quarantine in at least 6 states.
Quoting from the Joint News Release: FDA and USDA Determine Swine Fed Adulterated Product
FDA and FSIS are coordinating with State authorities in eight states where the adulterated feed is known to have been purchased.
Eight pork producers in the states of California, Kansas, North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah are known to have purchased the feed. These combined operations involve approximately 6,000 hogs.
All of the animals are currently being held under state quarantines in CA, NC, NY and SC. In KS, OK and UT producers agreed to hold the animals until further notice.
You already heard about the "lead paint in the toys" tragedy?
Mattel alone recalled over 900,000 toys which were imported from China.
Click for read the full NY Times article.
And, then there were the imported toys from China which were laced with a date rape drug. Click for the full MSNBC/AP article.
So, when a company like Trader Joe's moves fast in response to public concern, I am pleased.
On the federal level...
The U.S. and Chinese entered into a "Food Accord" signed on December 11, 2007:
...calling for a greater United States role in certifying and inspecting Chinese food exports, including an increased presence of American officials at Chinese production plants.
Read about the Food Accord in this NY Times article
Hopefully, safety concerns regarding food and toys imported from China are soon resolved. Until then, I will continue to avoid purchasing Chinese goods.
No, I have no illusion that I am making an impact.
For me, it's the principal.
To me, it's important.
We make choices each and every day.
And, for now, I'll continue to turn over each plate and cup before purchase to see where it came from.
And, when it says "China"
For now, I'll set it back down.