By Dan Shapley
Chinese imports may not make up a large percentage of the average American's total diet, but certain foods are likely to originate there, and the reasons regulators have rejected products can be disturbing. According to a new analysis in USA Today, fewer imports than might be expected come from China, but the foods that make up the biggest percentage of imports can be surprising. That Chinese apples are imported in large numbers is no surprise to apple growers in New York, Washington and elsewhere. For years, they have been fighting to maintain their businesses in the face of cheap Chinese imports. Garlic, too, is imported from China in large quantities. Ditto for honey and seafood. The Food and Drug Administration inspects approximately 1 percent of food imports, and those inspections have turned up 900 unacceptable imports from China alone in the past year. Filth and the presence of banned substances were the top reasons. As the investigation into tainted Chinese food ingredients continues, Americans are learning more and more about the complex international food distribution system. One unknown is just how unique China is. Food is imported from food manufacturing facilities in 170 countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe
. Many lack the food safety standards we expect from American producers, according to a story in the May 22 USA Today.