US manufacturers, farmers and food producers are often weighted down with government rules and regulation. The Chinese are not as particular. China can roll over domestic US producers and the Chinese are not held to the same standards as US manufacturers. Clever idea.
In August 1996, residents in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn described odd tree damage to a forestry inspector. Showy beetles collected from the neighborhood trees stumped the experts until Richard Hoebeke, assistant curator of Cornell University's insect collection, recognized it as Anoplophora glabripennis, a well-known menace in China, Korea, and Japan.
During the past 20 years or so, he's spotted about three dozen insect species that were invading the United States. Most of them turned out to be relatively harmless.
"This is the worst," he says. "This could easily be on the same level with the gypsy moth and the medfly."
The Asian long-horned beetle spends most of its life as a grub inside wood. It probably hitchhiked from China to the United States hidden in the cheap, untreated wood often used for pallets or packing material. APHIS' roughly 1,300 inspectors manage to check only about 2 percent of the goods sweeping into U.S. ports, and Cavey has been worried that the recent trade boom would start an international boom of alarming pests.
"We don't usually jump in as hard as we did," he says. Hoebeke had called Cavey when he recognized the Asian long-horned beetle, and within days, a federal quarantine forbade moving wood or plants out of an irregular area that eventually stretched some 16 miles across Brooklyn.
Nevertheless, in September 1996, beetles turned up in nearby Amityville, N.Y. They might have hitchhiked there compliments of a tree-pruning company that did many Brooklyn jobs for the telephone company. A year later, beetles appeared in Lindenhurst, N.Y.
Two years later, a Chicago man surfing the Web to identify beetles crawling out of his firewood tipped off authorities that the pest had reached the Midwest. Investigators found infested trees in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood and the communities of Addison and Summit.
Beetle watchers discovered yet another hot spot, in the Bayside area of Queens. The USDA has estimated that it has the potential to cause more damage than Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, and gypsy moths combined, destroying millions of acres of America’s treasured hardwoods, including national forests and backyard trees. The beetle has the potential to damage such industries as lumber, maple syrup, nursery, and tourism accumulating over $41 billion in losses.
Now we have this and there are many many more examples:
Additive that tainted U.S. pet food is commonly used in China
By David Barboza and Alexei Barrionuevo International Herald Tribune
Published: April 29, 2007
ZHANGQIU, China: American food safety regulators trying to figure out how an industrial chemical called melamine contaminated so much pet food in the United States might come to this heavily polluted city in Shandong Province in the northern part of the country.
Here at the Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group factory, huge boiler vats are turning coal into melamine, which is used to create plastics and fertilizer.
But the leftover melamine scrap, small acorn-sized chunks of white rock, is then being sold to local entrepreneurs, who say they secretly mix a powdered form of the scrap into animal feed to artificially enhance the protein level.
The melamine powder has been dubbed "fake protein" and is used to deceive those who raise animals into thinking they are buying feed that provides higher nutrition value.
"It just saves money," says a manager at an animal feed factory here. "Melamine scrap is added to animal feed to boost the protein level."
The practice is widespread in China. For years animal feed sellers have been able to cheat buyers by blending the powder into feed with little regulatory supervision, according to interviews with melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.
But now, melamine is at the center of a massive, multinational pet food recall after it was linked earlier this month to the deaths and injuries of thousands of cats and dogs in the United States and South Africa.
No one knows exactly how melamine - which had not been believed to be particularly toxic - became so fatal in pet food, but its presence in any form of American food is illegal.
U.S. regulators are now headed to China to figure out why pet food ingredients imported from here, including wheat gluten, were contaminated with high levels of the chemical.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned imports of wheat gluten from China and ordered the recall of over 60 million packages of pet food. And last week, the agency opened a criminal investigation in the case and searched the offices of at least one pet food supplier.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture also stepped in Thursday, ordering more than 6,000 hogs to be quarantined or slaughtered after some of the pet food ingredients laced with melamine were accidentally sent to hog farms in eight states, including California.