Archive for the ‘fertilizer’ Category

U.S. says food, drug inspection access in China improving

November 19, 2008

U.S. officials opened the first overseas Food and Drug Administration office in Beijing on Wednesday as they gear up for a long battle to ensure the quality of food, drug and feed imports from China.

The eight FDA workers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou will set up a process for pre-certifying and inspecting imports from China, which has hundreds of thousands of food processors and drug manufacturers.

A series of food safety scandals in China, where thousands of babies fell ill after melamine was introduced into milk formula to cheat protein tests, has triggered alarm in the United States, which imports about 15 percent of the food it consumes.

By Lucy Hornby, Reuters

A laboratory researcher works at the food safety inspection ...
A laboratory researcher works at the food safety inspection center in Beijing July 18, 2007.(China Daily/Reuters)

Problems with melamine-tainted dairy products from China were so pervasive that the United States issued an import alert, which force importers to certify that the food was problem-free before entering U.S. markets. A similar alert has been in effect on Chinese seafood since last year.

U.S. inspectors have complained in the past of limited access and information when investigating safety disputes with Chinese suppliers and manufacturers, but U.S. Secretary of Health Mike Leavitt said cooperation was improving.

Access was “clearly spelled out” in agreements between U.S. and Chinese authorities, Leavitt told reporters.

“Heparin, for example, was not one of the drugs under the agreement but those protocols were used and there were U.S. inspectors and Chinese inspectors together visiting the points of production,” he said. “Progress is being made.”

Chinese-made heparin, a blood thinner, was blamed for fatalities and adverse reactions in U.S. and German patients, prompting a recall by Baxter International Inc. early this year.

The FDA offices would try to identify and train laboratories that can certify shipments for faster clearance into the United States, with the goal of ultimately accepting inspections by Chinese quarantine and inspection agency AQSIQ.

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China: 70% of waterways and 90% of underground water polluted

October 15, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) – Illegal factories pumping arsenic and other chemicals into rivers have left farmers in a heavily populated area of central China with skin problems and failing crops, state press reported on Wednesday.

A farmer tends to his crop at his farm near the town of Jianli ... 
A farmer tends to his crop at his farm near the town of Jianli in central China’s Hubei province. Illegal factories pumping arsenic and other chemicals into rivers have left farmers in Jianli and other areas of central China with skin problems and failing crops, state press reported on Wednesday.(AFP/File)

Thirteen illegal alloy smelting plants in Hubei that defied government efforts to close them down two years ago were finally shut this week, the China Daily reported.

“We removed the plants in 2006, but they came back strong this year,” the China Daily quoted Wen Qingsong, deputy head of the Hubei environmental protection bureau, as saying.

“We will investigate how many farmers were affected, who is responsible and whether there was misconduct by local officials.”

The China Daily reported that farmers in Hubei’s Jianli county, which has a population of 1.5 million people, suffered severe rashes and other skin ailments due to the waste being emitted by the factories.

The factories were illegally discharging arsenic as well as another highly toxic chemical, cadmium, into rivers, with the water then being used on cotton farms and other agricultural land.

“We can only leave the cotton to rot now,” farmer Shi Qiang said, according to the China Daily.

“Once we get in the field, we become itchy all over the body. Our skin even swells up and becomes rotten.”

Arsenic and cadmium can both cause cancer in humans, as well as other deadly conditions.

Pollution incidents such as the one in Hubei have become a disastrously frequent occurrence in China over the past three decades as the nation’s environment has been often sacrificed in the quest for economic growth.

More than 70 percent of China’s waterways and 90 percent of its underground water are polluted, according to previously released government figures.

Tainted China water sickens 450

Food Shortage: More Bad News From China

April 17, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

China announced Thursday huge tariffs on fertilizer exports and said agricultural land was in rapid decline due to industrialization.

China’s official communist news agency Xinhua News announced that export tariffs on fertilizer would increase by 100%.  This will cause a virtual shutdown in the export of fertilizer from China.  This is necessary to preserve fertilizer for suffering Chinese agriculture.

The fertilizer is widely used in rice, corn and wheat growing which is essential to feed the 1.3 billion Chinese.  China also hopes to control rapidly rising domestic agricultural costs and inflation.

“Agricultural costs [in China] are going through the roof. Land prices, the cost of money, the relative cost of labor, fertilizer, a shortage of seeds,” said Paul Schulte, of Lehman Brothers in Hong Kong. “Yet rising agricultural prices can be a windfall for those with economies of scale.”

The China News agency also said the amount of farmland has decreased to crisis levels.

Western observers said the two announcements on the same day are an effort to prepare the world for a food shortage crisis in China.

File photo shows a Chinese farmer working in his field next ...File photo shows a Chinese farmer working in his field next to a chemical factory near Yixing Town in Jiangsu province. The amount of farmland in China has shrunk to critical levels, state press reported on Thursday(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)

Thailand Pledges to Export Rice at “Reasonable Cost”

Food Crisis in North Korea a “Disaster”

Food and energy costs lead wholesale prices to soar in March

Food Shortages Causing Panic?

From rice in Peru to miso in Japan, food prices are rising

Perils in The Price Of Each Grain of Rice

Lowly Rice Grain Impacts Global Economy

China Hikes Tariffs to Stem Fertilizer Exports

April 17, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) – China slapped massive tariffs on fertilizer exports on Thursday in a bid to control rapidly rising domestic agricultural costs and inflation, and above all to ensure it grows enough grain to feed its 1.3 billion people.

Beijing’s 100 percent-plus tariffs on some fertilizer exports should temper domestic costs but may drive up prices in world markets that depend on China’s supplies, the latest in a series of commodities-related protectionist moves around the world that risk fuelling rather than cooling global food costs.

File photo shows a Chinese farmer working in his field next ...
File photo shows a Chinese farmer working in his field next to a chemical factory near Yixing Town in Jiangsu province. The amount of farmland in China has shrunk to critical levels, state press reported on Thursday(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)

China’s anxiety is greater than most — it is struggling to grow enough corn and wheat to feed its multiplying urban eaters, and fears higher costs of fertilizer, diesel and labor might discourage farmers from planting grains, thereby raising feed costs for meat breeders and exacerbating inflation.

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China, Vietnam: Global Issues

January 11, 2008

To U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte;

Dear Sir;

The Public Affairs section of your U.S. State Department announced yesterday that you would travel to China and Vietnam January 16-20, 2008.

John Negroponte
John Negroponte

We know you are well aware of the many issues of interest to the United States and the greater global community with regard to China and Vietnam but we fear that sometimes the niceties of diplomatic discourse mutes the message to China and Vietnam.

Here are the top issues we urge you to consider raising in Beijing and Hanoi:

Human Rights: Both China and Vietnam are on the list of nations who routinely violate human rights. The U.S. Department of state and the United Nations have documented many abuses yet the consequences for the communist governments of China and Vietnam have been inconsequential. China agreed to alleviate human rights abuses during its selection to host the Summer Olympic games later this year. Vietnam said it would address human rights more directly as it was seeking acceptance to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Most human rights organizations say those promises from China and Vietnam turned out to be lies – and the world community has largely stood by idly.

Darfur: China is Sudan’s number one trading partner; yet China continues to largely look the other way at the abuses and possibly even genocide in Darfur. In the last few days, two news items highlighted this problem. First, U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guéhenno told the Security Council on Wednesday that U.N. peacekeeping forces lack the troops and equipment necessary to improve the situation in violence-wracked Darfur and will continue to be ineffective until mid-2008. And, Second, China’s senior diplomat for Sudan and Darfur denied any linkage between the human rights abuses in Darfur and China’s Olympic Games. Liu Guijin, special envoy for Darfur, said China cannot be held responsible for the actions of the government of Sudan. But we wonder if China has exerted its influence in Sudan commensurate with its vast business interests there including oil drilling, infrastructure projects and weapons sales.

Pollution: China and Vietnam are now among the world’s leaders in pollution and global warming. Both nations have extremely high degrees of polluted ground water, much of it caused by over-use of pesticides and fertilizers. We urge the United States to offer ways to ameliorate this problem though training, scientific applications and the use of better methods and chemicals. China’s air pollution is now so severe that Olympic teams are expressing concern for the health of their athletes and nations such as Japan have protested that the air pollution produced in China is now impacting nations around the globe. We urge the United states to continue to raise this issue with Beijing.

Beijing is rushing to make its air clean for the 2008 Olympics, but experts say it will be impossible for the site to be totally safe for athletes at the global sporting event.

Above: A beautiful, sunny morning near Beijing.

Territorial and Resources dispute: China and Vietnam are embroiled in a long-standing dispute over islands and resources in the South China Sea. We urge you to pledge that the United states will participate in resolution of this dispute if asked and certinly the united nations might be able to assist in this matter. The disagreement came to a boil in November and December after China reasserted its claim to the islands. The people of Vietnam reacted so vocally in protests and blogging that China asked the communist government in Vietnam to quell the dissent. This ugly dispute, without resolution, has many possible outcomes: all of which would be harmful to regional peace and stability.
A Vietnamese protestor demonstrates against a Chinese move to exert control over two disputed archipelagos 
China’s actions in the South
China Sea sparked protests
in Vietnam

Dear Sir; we appreciate your efforts dealing with China and Vietnam and offer these suggestions for the future benefit of all mankind.

Peace and Freedom


Rice’s deputy to visit China, Vietnam

Chinese Envoy Denounces Efforts to Link Darfur Concerns, Beijing Olympics

Darfur peacekeeping set back by 6 months

China blogger beaten to death

Secretary Negroponte: Secure The Release of At Least One Jailed In Vietnam