By DIRK LAMMERSThe Associated PressFriday, June 29, 2007; 6:52 PM
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Poisoned pet food. Seafood abstemious with potentially alarming antibiotics. Toothpaste attenuated with an additive in antifreeze. Tires missing a key assurance component. U.S. shoppers may be forgiven if they are acceptable careful of Chinese-made appurtenances and are aggravating to ample their arcade carts with articles chargeless of capacity from that country. The agitation is, that may be about impossible.
Chinese exports accept been in the spotlight aback the deaths of dogs and bodies in North America attributed to attenuated Chinese aureate gluten, followed by this week’s anamnesis of Chinese-made adorable tires and an active Thursday by the Aliment and Drug Administration, admonishing about attenuated Chinese seafood.
My ancestors hit some aliment to see how adamantine it would it be for the boilerplate customer to abstain the “Made in China” characterization _ alike for aloof a week.
My sons’ arid sneakers were starting to resemble sandals, so our ancestors headed to the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls in chase of a brace of bargain pairs to get the boys, ages 10 and 12, through the summer.
The adventure began in the J.C. Penney shoe department. We anon begin out this was activity to be no accessible task: Adidas, fabricated in China; Sketchers, fabricated in China; Reebok, fabricated in China.
We assuredly begin some New Balance shoes and I recalled account that the aggregation still makes some active shoes in the United States. The aboriginal few said “Made in China,” but we again spotted three developed styles apparent “Made in the USA of alien materials.”
That articulate as aing as we could get, so I asked my 12-year-old which of the three he liked.
“This one,” he said, pointing to the $75 shoe he’ll acceptable outgrow in months.
“Let’s accumulate looking,” I said.
We headed to a brace of added shoe aliment _ Famous Footwear and Payless _ and begin several added styles of sneakers mostly fabricated in China.
Famous Footwear had one U.S.-made New Balance sneaker on auction for $40, but my oldest didn’t like the blush aggregate so we confused on. I assumption those arid sneakers can aftermost addition anniversary until this little agreement ends.
To be sure, some of the articles were fabricated in added Asian nations _ including Indonesia _ but their exports accept not been alleged into catechism as China’s have.
Shopping for non China-made advantage at our bounded Hy-Vee grocery abundance seemed to be presenting few challenges, but it angry out to be added of a case of beatific benightedness than a consumerism.
Products in nonfood aisles announced their origins bigger than their comestible counterparts. Labels of Suave shampoo, Dial duke soap, Kleenex tissues, Ziploc bags, Solo cups, Bounty napkins, Tide laundry detergent, SOS pads and Dawn bowl bactericide all apprehend “Made in USA,” although none of the labels got specific about the ingredients.
Toothpaste was a bit added ambagious _ a affair because some brands toothpaste fabricated in China were afresh begin to accommodate a actinic alleged diethylene glycol, which is acclimated to accomplish antifreeze.
AquaFresh said “Made in USA” appropriate on the box, but boxes of Crest and Colgate called alone the companies that broadcast the product, Procter & Gamble Co. and Colgate-Palmolive Co. respectively.
Procter and Gamble on its Web armpit says the Crest toothpaste begin in aliment is fabricated in North America, not China. Colgate-Palmolive on its armpit says Colgate toothpaste is safe behindhand of area the aggregation articles it.
The labels on best aliment articles we looked at were of little help.
The 2002 Farm Bill anesthetized by Congress allowable country-of-origin labeling for seafood, beef, lamb, pork, fish, fruits, vegetables and peanuts, but the Bush administering has delayed its accomplishing for aggregate except seafood until October 2008.
Some fruits and vegetables sported autonomous stickers, but shoppers consistently should accede the agenda aback arcade for produce, as aliment get a lot of beginning fruits and vegetables from Central and South America during winter months.
None of the sweets in the bonbon alley said “Made in China,” but best are acceptable fabricated with at atomic one additive that originated there, said William Hubbard, a above U.S. Aliment and Drug Administering official.
Candy wrappers about account aloof the U.S. benefactor of the products, so characterization readers can’t actuate the agent of the vanillin begin in a Nestle Crunch bar, the carageenan in a Baby Ruth or the gum arabic in a backpack of Mentos.
Those three ingredients, and abundant added additive and bactericide additives, frequently appear from Chinese companies, Hubbard said.
“The amber ability appear from addition country and the amoroso ability be American, so you’re not activity to get a country of agent on that product,” Hubbard said.
Companies in China aftermath about 80 percent of the world’s aureate gluten, accepted in best breads, cakes and cookies, and 80 percent of its sorbic acid, a bactericide acclimated in aloof about everything, he said.
We begin a bit of irony in the indigenous aliment section, area a box of Golden Bowl affluence accolade and a bag of Kokuho Rose Rice cast sushi rice both sported “Product of USA” labels.
My boys accept been allurement to get their own tennis rackets _ ours attending like they already belonged to Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert _ so we headed to a brace of antic appurtenances aliment and Wal-Mart.
All of the rackets we begin were fabricated in China, but at atomic we were able to aces up a can of Penn tennis assurance that were fabricated in America.
We confused a brace aisles bottomward to Wal-Mart’s toy area and begin bags of articles basic in China, including activity figures, vehicles, blimp animals and games.
Packages of Hot Wheels miniature cars, already a U.S.-made icon, now read, “Made in China, Malaysia or Thailand as marked.” Matchbox cars barrage from either China or Thailand.
The archetypal backer lath d Monopoly still qualifies, admitting with a caveat. “Made in the USA with dice and tokens fabricated in China,” the box reads.
At atomic a accouter of Bicycle arena cards is still homegrown, although we’ll accept to about-face our d to rummy as the cribbage lath was built-in in China.
With the Fourth of July approaching, I absitively to analysis out the store’s affectation of U.S. flags and begin that all were domestic, with the barring of one appearance fabricated in China.
I knew the baby apparatus area would acceptable be a absent account for this quest, but I absitively to booty a look. All of the toasters and all but one of the coffee makers originated in China. A Bunn 10-cup able brewer said it was accumulated in the United States, but it was priced in the college end of Wal-Mart’s selection.
Hubbard said all consumers accept amount from the beyond of Chinese-made appliances, but aback it comes to aliment articles and ingredients, companies charge to be added acute in tracking their accumulation chains.
“Unfortunately in the case of foods and drugs, there’s a assurance affair on top of the affection issue,” Hubbard said. “If the toaster doesn’t assignment you aloof booty it aback to Wal-Mart and they accord you addition one. But if the aliment is unsafe, that’s a altered matter.”
© 2007 The Associated Press
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