Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Et tu, Cadbury?

Apologies for the rant but I've had it. As both a parent and a consumer I've had it with Chinese food production safety issues. It isn't enough that Mars' brand M&Ms and Snickers -- Snickers! -- are made in China, where recent product shipped to Indonesia contained melamine. No, I now come to learn that Cadbury, the venerable English chocolatier with a near-200-year history as a company, is pimping out production to a Chinese firm which cannot kick a melamine habit. And I'm reasonably certain these reports are just the tip of a food safety iceberg that's on a collision course with a U.S. food industry rushing headlong to China's shores to save a buck or billion.

But the worst part is that I have no easy way of knowing where much of my packaged and "fresh" food comes from. Where it's grown and processed. Sure, I'd like to buy nothing but locally-grown foods but that isn't realistic for the vast majority of Americans, no matter the current popularity of farmers' markets in California and elsewhere. In digging a little I was amazed to learn how lax our country is in terms of "Country Of Origin Labeling" (COOL) for foods, how little is required and how many exemptions are in place. Dammit, we label our toys with country of manufacture; I see no reason why we can't require the same for our food, inarguably the more important of the two imports for which to have this information.

So, rather than just rant passionately if ineffectually in this blog I decided to do something about the issue. I created an online petition which I plan to send to Congress if I get more than a few signatures, and I'm asking you, dear reader, to read and sign that petition:

Require Country of Origin Labels on all U.S. Foods


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