24 July 2007

another benefit of tax cuts for the rich

so the chinese are selling shit for food, but we don't even begin to know what is going on, since the dept. of agriculture, like every other agency of federal govt. except those agents of the police state, is underfunded and understaffed and simply can't keep up with what's going on---

Implementing a 21st-century food safety system in China poses a challenge. It is dfficult to standardize and monitor production practices in a sector composed of 200 million farm households who typically have 1-2 acres of land divided into 4-6 noncontiguous plots. Farmers have only usage rights to their land, so they lack ownership incentives to make costly investments. Many of China’s food safety problems can be traced back to the farm level. Farmers rely on heavy use of chemicals to coax production out of intensively cultivated soils and deal with pest pressures, a practice that contributes to food safety problems. China has one of the world’s highest rates of chemical fertilizer use per hectare, and Chinese farmers use many highly toxic pesticides, including some that are banned in the United States. Farm chemicals are sometimes mislabeled. The Chinese government is tackling this problem by encouraging farmers to buy agricultural chemicals only from approved outlets. Some farmers have little understanding of correct chemical use; for example, they may fail to wait the prescribed number of days between the last application of a pesticide and harvest, resulting in excessive residues in the harvested product. Antibiotics are widely used to control disease in livestock, poultry, and aquaculture products. Industrialization and lax environmental controls have also led to concern about the potential for heavy metal contamination of food products. Untreated human and animal waste in fields and water raises the risk
of microbial contamination.

plus, for five years, the republicans have blocked laws requiring country-of-origin labeling of all food stuff---it's required for clothing, but not for food? i feel sick---

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