I think perhaps the solution to the food contamination issue is going to have to be to require some level of inspection on this side of the pond. Sure, that will piss off the Chinese, but given how much of a problem this has been, and how other import foods (hell, even American products) are inspected in various places, we have a right and a need to do this.
Other solutions are going to have to come from consumer pressure and business interests. When we are the world’s breadbasket, why the flying fuck are we importing wheat gluten and the like from China? “It’s cheaper”??? Yes, and it’s heavily contaminated.
One of the things I liked about the whole obscene oil prices thing was that it was raising the costs of transporting things so that we couldn’t do silly things like export wheat to China, have it turned into gluten and returned here cheaper than it could be turned into gluten here.
Then too there is a corporate stupidity issue. I’m shooting from the hip on this one with my ‘facts’, but I remember the problems Hasbro had with the toys painted with lead. After far too many recalls, they went back and heavily criticized the Chinese companies over the whole thing. At that point, the Chinese government stepped in and bitchslapped Hasbro, which shut them up. The thing being pointed out to them was that over 80% of their product came from China and that if they were going to keep “slandering” China, they may well find themselves without any product.
Hopefully the lesson learned by Hasbro was that they couldn’t trust the Chinese and that they’d better keep silent while they quietly started making plans to move most of their production to other countries.
Another way of putting that would be “Too many eggs in an untrustworthy basket”.
Which would apply to all of us at this point. We’re in a precarious position with reliance, economics and resource issues in that we’ve put too many eggs into the China basket and allowed them too much control over our needs. Given their government, we can’t simply impose blanket penalties on them. So what needs to happen is that we need to not only stop shipping them additional industries, we need to rethink whether or not it is advantageous or even useful for us to have them making certain things (like the wheat gluten) for us.