THE MAGAZINE

Safer Imports from China?

By Joseph Straw

While political tensions between the United States and China have recently escalated, more powerful forces—economic ones—have generated an accord between the two powers to bolster the safety of exported Chinese food, animal feed, drugs, and medical devices.

The agreement even provides for inspections of manufacture or supply chain sites by officials from the importing country, such as the U.S., which carried a $233 billion trade deficit with China in 2006.

The initiative grew in large part from U.S. pet deaths last year blamed on melamine contamination in food ingredients that originated in China. Unscrupulous dealers added the chemical to grain commodities to boost their apparent protein content.

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