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First Foreign FDA Food Safety Offices Open In China

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 4:16 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: China, Chinese Products, Exports, Heparin, Melamine, Pet Food, Lead Toys, FDA and Prescription Drugs

The FDA is opening three offices in China



IMAGE SOURCE: CNN video on Beijing office opening, November 19, 2008


Following reports of a multitude of tainted products from China – from melamine-laced milk and pet food, lead-ladened toys, and contaminated heparin – the Food and Drug Administration is opening three food safety offices there. 

The first opened today in Beijing.

The other two will open in the next few days in the cities of Guangzhou and Shanghai.  Additional FDA food safety offices will open in India, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.

Their purpose will be to inspect products before they are sent to the U.S. The FDA also hopes to instill some quality control into the Chinese government to improve its regulatory system for exports.

Just recently the FDA began blocking the import of milk products from China.

Melamine-tainted milk has killed at least four Chinese infants after it was found in their formula. More than 53,000 infants were sickened in that country. Arrests have been made in the milk-production industry.

Melamine is used to make plastics and fertilizer.  In food products, it registers as extra protein.

Mysteriously tainted blood-thinner, heparin was also exported to the U.S. this year and so far is linked to dozens of deaths. It too had a contaminant that mimics the real drug. The source of that contamination is still a mystery.

CNN reports that Leroy Hubley testified before a House subcommittee last spring. He lost his wife of 48 years and his son. Both had undergone hemodialysis at a Toledo clinic and were given heparin.

"Now I am left to deal not only with the pain of losing my wife and son, but anger that an unsafe drug was permitted to be sold in this country," Hubley was quoted as saying to CNN.

He was among several Toledo residents who filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the drug company.

Baxter International has recalled the drug.  It was later learned that the FDA never inspected the Chinese plant that made the heparin for the U.S. market.

This year the U.S. will import nearly $2 trillion in food and drugs from China.  

Mike Leavitt, Sec. of Health and Human Services says in this CNN report, ”The role of those goods has become so robust that it requires a change in our strategy.”

The U.S. wants the products certified by a third party, an independent verification before being exported to U.S. consumers.  #

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