Wednesday, November 26, 2014

China and the USA - Buying local helps

Recently there's been articles about how the market for chinese food to come to the USA is opening up.  They're talking about raising chickens here, shipping them to china for processing, and then back to here for consumption, for instance.

Before I talk about that, I'm going to post a picture from my childhood.   It's not a personal picture, but it's a picture of what the smog was like in Los  Angeles in 1968 or so:

 The air in Los angles was so bad in the 50s and 60s that I remember my eyes stinging from the fumes when i walked to school in 1968 and 1969.  It was so bad that you couldn't see a hundred yards.  It was so bad that the schools would discourage children from playing or even being outside.
China is facing the same sort of pollution problems that we had in the 50s and 60s and into the 70s and it's going to take a big effort by the chinese to bring that pollution down to something like what we have now in the states... but right now it's bad in China.  

So what does this have to do with US chickens?  Well, when you buy locally produced (local in this sense means "made in the USA") meat and produce, you're getting a benefit that you may not have thought about.  The places that produce that food all have to work within the US regulations regarding pollution and impact on their local communities.  

From the memory of my stinging eyes I can clearly see that the regulations have made a difference, and whenever you buy something made here, in the USA, you're supporting a business that is doing the right thing, or at least better, than the alternative.  

I'm a supporter of Country Of Origin labeling for this reason.  Where your food comes from counts.  Support the countries that do the best job with your dollars.   This applies to all of your food, and even to the country where your food is processed.  The factory in china doesn't have to abide by the USA pollution rules, and while it may make the shareholders a few more dollars is it really worth it?  

Personally I don't think so.  

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