By Joseph Kahn
International Herald Tribune
July 8, 2007
BEIJING: Phony fertilizer destroys crops. Store shelves are filled with deodorized rotten eggs, and chemical glucose is passed off as honey. Exports slump when European regulators find dangerous bacteria in packaged meat.
More product safety scandals in China? Not this time. These quality problems prompted a sluggish U.S. government to tighten food and drug regulation 101 years ago, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the act that created the Food and Drug Administration.
Like America’s industrializing economy of a century ago, China’s is powered by zealous entrepreneurs who sometimes act like pirates. In both cases there were epidemics of fatal fakes, and regulators too inept, corrupt or hamstrung to do much about it.
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