Friday, May 4, 2007

More Reasons To Become A Savvy Consumer

Excerpt from

Aired May 3, 2007 - 18:00 ET

New evidence tonight, that communist China is intentionally lying about the contents of the food we are importing from China. We'll have that SPECIAL REPORT. We'll tell you what your government, your government, has been doing about protecting your health. It's a short story. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: More alarming news in the widening pet food recall. A brand of dog biscuits has been added to the list of pet food products contaminated with a toxic chemical from communist China.

Sunshine Mills is now recalling those biscuits because they were made with wheat gluten, contaminated with melamine. Sunshine Mills, the fourth pet food manufacturer in the country to recall their products. The FDA says now communist China may have been intentionally disguising the contents of the food it exports.

The products most likely to be mislabeled are foods containing toxic chemicals, including melamine. As Kitty Pilgrim now reports communist China's practice of mislabeling products is more than just a little dangerous for consumers in this country.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Don't bother looking at labels, no food products have to list where it comes from. The FDA web site will tell you just how many products from China are rejected each month, routinely more than any other country. While most countries have only a handful of rejected shipments per month. China rejections often run in the triple digits. Last month, 215 Chinese products were rejected.

REP. JOHN DUNCAN, (R) TENNESSEE: The Chinese are really ripping us off, adding all of these adulterated products and dangerous items and products and chemicals so they can make more money.

PILGRIM: Some small food producers in China have gone after easy profits by adding cheaper ingredients to undercut their competitors. The FDA web site often reads such reasons as unsafe additives for reason of rejecting a shipment.

REP. TOM DAVIS, (R) VIRGINIA: Even when you write rules, whether its over intellectual property or whether food safety provisions or whatever, you have to watch these people very, very carefully. They tend to circumvent and will do anything they can get away with.

PILGRIM: In 2000, Chinese producers were cheating on trade laws, shipping their honey through Thailand to avoid anti-dumping penalties. U.S. authorities testing honey for anti-dumping enforcement, found Chinese honey had the antibiotic Clorophenical (ph), which can cause cancer. That mirrors the recent case of melamine.

WILLIAM HUBBARD, FMR. FDA OFFICIAL: I would hope this time this is a wakeup call. This could have been human food. And people could have died from this.


PILGRIM (on camera): Just a glance of the FDA web site shows, of the small percentage of products that were tested, China had a startling high rejection rate. That begs the question, when faced with such high food and safety rejection rates from China, didn't officials see the warning signs well before the melamine contamination, Lou?

DOBBS: Let's put this in perspective, the head of the FDA's Food Inspection Food Safety, saying what about all this?

PILGRIM: He said the system is not broken.

DOBBS: And how many of those imports did they reject, products from China?

PILGRIM: Two-hundred fifteen in the last month.

DOBBS: So, in other words, someone in that department is a complete and utter idiot. Thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim. This is inexcusable. And, Mr. President, if you happen to be listening, put in a call to Henry Waxman who is taking a look at this, in Congress, the Congressman could really give you instruction. And I hope someone can tell you what you should be doing to protect the public safety in this country.

Speaking of products. Vinyl baby bibs manufactured in China sold at Wal-Mart, being voluntarily recalled. Bibs examined by the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland California, which found lead levels more than 16 times greater than the legal limit for the lead in paint. By the way that's 16 times the U.S. limit in paint. That does not necessarily apply to China or Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart in agreement with the attorney general of New York removed those bibs from store shelves in those states. Wal-mart tonight tells us that they have removed the bibs from its stores nationwide.

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Excerpt from

Wal-Mart issues voluntary recall of vinyl baby bibs containing high levels of lead

Associated Press Wednesday, May 2, 2007 LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pulled sets of baby bibs Wednesday from its U.S. stores after the bibs tested positive for high levels of lead, a store official said.

The bibs, sold under the Baby Connection brand name, came in packs of two to seven bibs, with embroidered prints or images of Sesame Street characters. Mia Masten, a Chicago-based spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said the vinyl portion of the bibs exceeded the lead levels set by Illinois for children's products. She said the company had worked with the Illinois attorney general's office to pull the items and later decided to expand the recall nationwide.

Masten said Wal-Mart officials have been in contact with Hamco, but referred all questions about the products' manufacturing to Hamco. Officials at Hamco, a subsidiary of Crown Crafts Inc. of Gonzales, Louisiana, said the company has no comment and they referred questions to Wal-Mart.

The Illinois attorney general's office identified those bibs as being sold between June 2004 to the end of March this year in Wal-Mart stores throughout the state. Tests there on three styles of the bibs tested positive for lead more than 600 parts per million, the state's standard for lead in children's products, said Robyn Ziegler, spokeswoman with the attorney general's office.

Wal-Mart's recall comes after a lawsuit over the bibs by the Center for Environmental Health, based in Oakland, California. Alexa Engelman, a researcher there, said the center became aware of the bibs in September.

Engelman said a report by an independent laboratory test contracted by the center showed the bibs contained 16 times the amount of lead allowed in paint. Lead, used as a stabilizer in vinyl plastic, can be "easily substituted" for other products, Engelman said.
"The lead doesn't need to be in there and it's not hard for these companies to take it out," she said. "In this case, we really feel like getting the products off of the shelf is an important first step and an important step to protect kids."
Public health experts consider elevated levels of lead in blood a significant health hazard for children. Studies have repeatedly shown that childhood exposure to lead can lead to learning problems, reduced intelligence, hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder. There is no lead level that is considered safe in blood, and recent studies have shown adverse health effects even at very low levels.

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