Beware & Protect Yourself 01 (May 08 - Dec 08)

Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby winston » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:07 pm

China bans 17 harmful substances in food

• China probing 27 cases of melamine-tainted animal feed
• WHO sets first limits for safe melamine levels in food

BEIJING: China has banned 17 substances, some commonly used as disinfectants or insecticides, as food additives as part of a four-month safety campaign launched following a scandal over tainted milk.

Substances on a list published by the nation's health ministry include boric acid, a chemical used as an insecticide or flame retardant that is known to be added to noodles or the skin of dumplings to increase their elasticity.

Formaldehyde, applied to dried seafood to improve its appearance, but also commonly used as a disinfectant,
was also on the list of banned substances, published on the ministry's website late on Monday.

The crackdown comes after six children in China may have died and a further 294,000 were sickened this year from drinking milk contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.

The chemical was added to watered-down milk to give it the appearance of high protein levels.

The milk scandal, which erupted in September, caused global concern with countries around the world banning or recalling China-made dairy products.

This prompted authorities to launch a four-month food safety campaign at the beginning of December to try and restore confidence in the made-in-China brand.

As part of the crackdown, the health ministry also on Monday published the names of additives that could easily be overused when added to food products.

But it warned the lists were not exhaustive.

"These lists... cannot cover all problems linked to illegally adding substances in food and abusing additives in the industry,"
it said in the online statement.

- AFP/yb
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby winston » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:33 pm

Dynamite found in Paris department store

French police discovered five sticks of dynamite in a Paris department store, forcing the evacuation of hordes of tourists and shoppers at the height of the Christmas shopping season.

Police cordoned off Printemps Haussmann store and the city's best known shopping boulevard was blocked as police defused the explosives, but the interior ministry said there was no detonator.

A group calling itself the Afghan Revolutionary Front had earlier sent a letter to AFP warning of ``several bombs'' in the upscale store and demanding that France pull its troops from Afghanistan by the end of February.

French anti-terrorism police said that one bomb had been placed in the third-floor toilets at the Printemps store and that others had been hidden elsewhere.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby winston » Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:58 pm

Man dies after retirement party hijinks

TOKYO (Reuters) - A 60-year-old man who was thrown into the air in celebration at his retirement party died after his colleagues failed to catch him and he fell to the floor, a Japanese newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The case came to light after the man's wife filed a police complaint against colleagues who threw the man up into the air, accusing them of gross negligence, the Mainichi paper reported on its website.

The man died in September, 10 months after the party attended by around 40 people at an unnamed transport company at an inn in Ritto, near the ancient capital of Kyoto in central Japan.

The fall damaged his neck and backbone, leaving him paralyzed, and he eventually died of blood poisoning, the paper said.

"He worked until the retirement age. We had been looking forward to going to various places as a couple and were excited that we would be able to spend a relaxing time together," the paper quoted the man's wife as saying.

"No matter what I say he won't come back, but I want to find out why this happened."
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby kennynah » Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:20 pm

i was just told this afternoon...last sunday evening...4 of our police patrol cars converged at joo chiat road...

no, they wont there to raid the joints...

they were there to deal with a corpse...an old man who over exerted himself with his very young "girlfriend" and likely resulted in a cardiac arrest.... ( i am tempted to snigger...but decided, it is no laughing matter afterall )
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby winston » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:43 am

China Melamine Yet Again And This Time It's Getting Mighty Fishy. by Dan

Most of you probably already know more about melamine than they ever expected. Melamine refers to both a chemical and to a resin produced from it. Human ingestion of melamine "may lead to reproductive damage, or bladder or kidney stones, which can lead to bladder cancer." Unfortunately, its high nitrogen content allows it to mimic protein and that characteristic has led to Chinese companies putting it into feedstock as an extremely cheap way of falsely boosting its protein content readings.

Here we go again, and this time it is hitting very close to home.

The Los Angeles Times just came out with a story, entitled, "Toxic melamine is suspected in seafood from China," on how melamine is being used in China to boost the protein content readings in feedstock being given to seafood. I say close to home on this for two reasons. One, probably around ten percent of my firm's clients are in the seafood industry or a related industry. One of my first big cases in China was seizing/arresting seafood in Dalian/Qingdao. Co-blogger Steve Dickinson lives in Qingdao these days and, in large part, that has to do with all of the Seattle seafood connections to that area.

Two, Seafood is a shockingly international business. A few years ago, my law firm was retained by the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) to represent (amicus curiae) foreign fish importers before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court (certiorari was denied). I remember from that brief that more than 80% of the seafood in the United States is imported and I would bet that percent is even higher now.

"By volume, China is the largest exporter of seafood to the U.S., and the second largest in terms of monetary value. In particular, China exports significant amounts of shrimp and catfish products, which represent two of the ten most consumed seafood products in the U.S." (April 25, 2008, Statement of the FDA's Don Kraemer, before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Hearing on Chinese Seafood: Safety and Trade Issues).

The Los Angeles Times article starts out with the massive (and ever growing) numbers involved:

China is the world's largest producer of farm-raised seafood, exporting billions of dollars worth of shrimp, catfish, tilapia, salmon and other fish. The U.S. imported about $2 billion of seafood products from China in 2007, almost double the volume of four years earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It then hits us with a critical string of bad news. Melamine is widely believed to go into feedstock for seafood in China, Melamine "can lead to urinary problems such as kidney stones and even renal failure," and, "unlike in cows and pigs, the edible flesh in fish that have been fed melamine contains residues of the nitrogen-rich substance."

The article then quotes a Burbank, California fish purchasing manager:

Brian Dedmon, purchasing manager for "China's a big place, and it does a lot of processing, and cheaply too," said Brian Dedmon, purchasing manager for the Fish King distribution plant in Burbank.

Fish King, which supplies hundreds of Southern California restaurants and has a store in Glendale, says it buys processed snow crab meat, squid and other seafood from China to meet market demand and because the price is competitive. Dedmon says the company relies on government inspections, its importers and its own experience to ensure the fish it buys is safe.

"We're definitely concerned about melamine, but by the time the fish gets to us, health issues should've been taken care of by the government agencies and brokers that we go through," he said.

I find this quote very interesting for many reasons. First off, about a year ago, when I was interviewed by various publications regarding Chinese food safety, I was asked if any of my food (many of them fish) importing clients would speak with the interviewer. Not a single one would. I particularly wanted one client to speak with the media to talk about how it was so conscious of food quality it had cameras recording every single food item that went into its boxes in China. Even this company would not talk, believing that no matter how much it touted its safety record and safety procedures, the only thing people would take away from the article was that it imported food from China.

I suspect Dedmon talked here because (at least as far as I know) snow crab meat and squid are not farm raised in China, rather, they are merely processed there. As such, those seafood items would almost certainly not pick up any melamine in China.

China Law Blog's own Steve Dickinson brings a bit of his own gloom and doom to the article:

In the U.S., commercial fish farms have to use feed from a handful of approved suppliers, but in China, there may be hundreds of thousands of sources for feed, said Steve Dickinson, an American attorney in China's coastal city of Qingdao who ran a salmon-farming business in Washington state.

Melamine has "infected the whole system in China," he said.

Even some Chinese feed suppliers are no longer denying the commonality of melamine spiking:

More than 15 feed suppliers in various parts of China were contacted for this story. Most of them declined to comment or said they didn't add melamine. But some of them said the practice of spiking feed with it had been going on for at least the last six years, with inspectors checking some types of feed products more tightly than others. The US FDA is not yet testing for melamine in seafood and it seems most private testing outfits do not do so either.

http://www.chinalawblog.com/2008/12/mel ... is_ti.html
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby winston » Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:18 am

CNY will be here very soon..

Petty theft & even violent crimes tend to increase b4 CNY as the gangsters and thieves, would like to also go home for their family reunion and to put on a good show at home as well..

Be extra vigilant if u r travelling outside Spore...
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby winston » Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:14 pm

If you are going to HK, you may want to check on things first ellse you may end up like our Mr. Poland who had a few extra days of unscheduled vacation in Bangkok...

============================================================

Hong Kong airport workers threaten to strike over cut bonuses


Hong Kong - Airport workers in Hong Kong were Friday reportedly considering strike action that could paralyse one of the world's busiest transport hubs.

Unions representing some 3,000 workers at Chek Lap Kok airport protested over a usual year-end bonus worth two months' salaries being halved.

Talks were due to take place Friday or Saturday and a union leader warned that some workers wanted to stage a strike if the Airport Authority refused to reinstate their bonuses.

'There are some workers saying we should strike if the company refuses to listen to us,' Ip Wai-ming, deputy general secretary of the airport workers' main union, told Friday's South China Morning Post.

'The last thing we want is to see airport services paralysed during the peak holiday period, but it all depends on the company's response.'

The strike threat at Hong Kong airport comes just weeks after Bangkok's international airport was shut down by political activists, effectively cutting off Thailand from the world.

A spokesman for Hong Kong's Labour Department said it was mediating between the Airport Authority and the unions. 'We hope both sides can handle the issue rationally,' he told the newspaper.

Hong Kong International Airport is the fifth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger numbers. In 2007, it handled 47.8 million passengers and 3.74 million tons of cargo.
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby kennynah » Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:24 pm

but if their tourism board offers free hotel accomodation + meals... it could well be worthwhile a trip ;)

is it not the time for hairy crabs yet in HK ?
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby millionairemind » Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:26 pm

kennynah wrote:but if their tourism board offers free hotel accomodation + meals... it could well be worthwhile a trip ;)

is it not the time for hairy crabs yet in HK ?


I tot Hairy crabs season is in Oct/Nov???
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Re: Beware & Protect Yourself

Postby kennynah » Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:27 pm

you might just be right :)
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