Monday, 3 December 2007

Toys Not Made in China

Many parents have been worried about traces of lead in toys that come from China. Even though the Chinese Communist Government is nominally communist, its economy is largely capitalist to such a high degree that some call China an anarchist society. Because there is so much specialization, it is very difficult to keep up with where which component came from. One city in China specializes in buttons, another city in China specializes in fabric, etc.

Many parents believe they can avoid dangerous toys simply by looking for toys that are not made in China. The belief here is that quality standards in America or Australia are superior to those in China. However, this is not the whole story. Although the dangerous toys were made in China, they were made there by American companies. They were subsequently imported into America for domestic consumers. American toy companies failed to pick up the problem and after the toys were imported into America, Government health regulators failed to pick up the problem as well. This then is evidence of total failure by many parties.

Another difficulty is that many products made in the USA or made in Australia actually use components that are made in China or made elsewhere. Take a good like a car. Even though the car itself may be assembled in Australia, the engine may come from America, the tires may come from China, and so on. Even though the engine may come from America, the components used to make the engine may not come from America. E.g. the spark plugs may comes from Italy, the pistons may come from Thailand, etc. This difficultly is seen in candy manufacture:
Country-of-origin labeling is one thing but ingredients in many foods come from multiple nations—making it impossible for even an investigative foodie to know what he or she is eating. Take candy for instance. Although you most likely won't find a "Made in China" label on any of the sweets you find in the candy aisle of your neighborhood store, it's a given that at least one ingredient in your favorite treat was sourced from China, a former FDA official told a North Carolina daily. Chocolate bars, marshmallows, soft drinks, gumdrops, and chewing gum are just some of the items containing flavoring agents and preservatives such as carageenan, gum arabic, and vanillin (vanilla flavoring) that are Chinese imports.

No comments: