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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Breadmaker

Last week I went on a rant about the so-called ingredients that I feel are lessening the nutritional value of our food, soy and high fructose corn syrup in particular. The subject was bread and I vowed to buy a breadmaker so I could bake my own bread. Nothing too labor intensive, since I really can't add too much more to my Suzy Homemaker workload. Then I started reading The Coming China Wars and had another rant, albeit a mini one, about Brand Name or Country of Origin.

The breadmaker I originally ordered was on back order so I canceled it, my primary motivation being that it was made in China. I have been looking for a breadmaker that is NOT made in China but have found this to be an impossible task. There doesn't seem to be such a machine.

As I briefly mentioned the other day more and more of our food is coming from China as well, and the growing conditions in that country are less than pristine shall we say. Polluted streams, rivers, and lakes, filthy air, antibiotics injected into fish farm pond water and animals, viruses galore, and ironically, terrific environmental regulations nearly on par with the US, but sadly, rarely enforced. The more I read about China, the more I am determined to eat local and eat organic. And sorry, I won't eat organic vegetables or fruits grown in China (Cascade Farms for one--check the label because they list country of origin).

As uneasy as it makes me feel, I guess I have no choice but to order a breadmaker made in China. I just don't know which one yet.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Brand Name or Country of Origin?

FSB Associates, a PR company I've worked with in the past recently sent me a book to review, The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought and How They Can Be Won. While the title is a bit long and it isn't really descriptive of what's inside, it's an interesting book that offers insight into "The China Price"--cheap goods--and how China has become such a manufacturing superpower if you will. I'll be posting the review on Marigold Lane in the coming weeks.

I've only made it through the first couple of chapters, but one point that struck a chord was the way most people buy products, by brand name. I've never been one that's been swayed by brand names and marketing (I don't even watch TV!), so it's not hard for me to buy by country of origin instead of brand. In fact, the other day I bought a few items from and specifically bought products that were NOT made in China. And this was before reading The Coming China Wars.

With the recalls and scares about poisoned pet food and toothpaste, lead in toys and clothing, tainted seafood, and fake medicines, I have become much more conscious of where products come from. I religiously search everything I buy for the "Made in...". You would be surprised that so much of our food--including frozen fruits and vegetables--comes from China. It may seem like I have a personal vendetta against Made in China, but I don't. What scares me is that a disproportionate number of products that are made there are tainted, defective, and downright dangerous.

In the age of Internet everything should be taken with a grain of salt, but after reading this book you may never want to buy anything from China again. And the things you do have, you will want to chuck in the trash. Granted, the author may have injected some of his personal and political views into the book, nonetheless it's a wake up call for the American people.

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