I've been thinking for some time that all of this allegedly poisonous pet food coming from China could could instigate fresh protectionism as our politicians erect shrouded trade barriers in a bid to "keep us safe". Can't wait for the Protecting our Pets from Poison Act of 2007, which will probably contain all kinds of clauses and riders that do a lot more than the title would suggest. Meanwhile, stories about poisoned generic pharmaceuticals from China will only make things worse:
The syrupy poison, diethylene glycol, is an indispensable part of the modern world, an industrial solvent and prime ingredient in some antifreeze. It is also a killer. And the deaths, if not intentional, are often no accident. Over the years, the poison has been loaded into all varieties of medicine — cough syrup, fever medication, injectable drugs — a result of counterfeiters who profit by substituting the sweet-tasting solvent for a safe, more expensive syrup, usually glycerin, commonly used in drugs, food, toothpaste and other products.
Toxic syrup has figured in at least eight mass poisonings around the world in the past two decades. Researchers estimate that thousands have died. In many cases, the precise origin of the poison has never been determined. But records and interviews show that in three of the last four cases it was made in China, a major source of counterfeit drugs.
Interesting too, that in both the pet food and the pharmaceutical makers, the low-cost distributors still need to resort to substitutions in order to keep their prices in line.