Coals to Newcastle: Pet Food, Rat Poison and National Security
Apparently one of the biggest consumer recalls in history is the result of importing Chinese wheat to Kansas. Wheat from China, as in “there are kids starving in China,” being imported to “breadbasket of the world” Kansas. Talk about potential negative fallout…
- For free trade. The “Fair Trade” lobby will be asking the obvious question – why was wheat being imported to Kansas? (And probably finding the obvious answer – Chinese government subsidies.)
- For agriculture subsidy reform. The farm lobby will go nuts with this one. “This proves that the American family farmer needs your support.” (And just when the Bush administration is trying to do something about capping subsidies to millionaire farmers.)
- For trade with China specifically. Minor contamination is one thing, but contamination in sufficient quantities to turn 60 million servings of food into a lethal poison? There’s something seriously wrong there. It makes one mad cow look like nothing and we know how countries respond to reports of one mad cow.
As for that thing that is seriously wrong here…does this look to anyone else like a dry run at using the food supply for terrorism? Even worse, could it be a real attack by terrorists who didn’t realize the wheat they were poisoning was destined for pets? Even if it was neither, the poisoning certainly points to a gaping hole in our national security when literally tons of contaminated food can make it to store shelves before poison is found. Seven people were poisoned by cyanide in Tylenol in 1982 and we’ve had to deal with trying to pry foil caps and plastic seals off painkillers, adding figurative to literal headache ever since. What’s the plastic seal for a multi-ton shipment of food commodities?