If a diner in the U.S. consumes a lunch of tilapia, mushrooms and spinach, there’s a decent chance the entire meal was imported from China. And the overwhelming odds are that none of those foods were inspected by the Food and Drug Administration when they arrived in the U.S.
This week’s revelation that nearly half the rice sold in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou was found to be tainted with cadmium is just the latest in a long string of eye-catching stories that illustrate the dangers of eating in China. But lost in the exhaustive media coverage of the polluted foods that find their way on to Chinese tables are serious questions about what happens — or doesn’t happen — when Chinese food products make their way into the U.S.
Chinese food product imports to the U.S. are continuing to rise, but inspections in both China and the U.S. aren’t keeping pace, posing a growing danger to consumers. Many of the imports are used by restaurants, institutions and food processors; as a result, consumers see no labels, keeping them unaware of the origins of what they’re ingesting.