Food safety horror stories abound in China. More than 50,000 children were sickened and four died in 2008 after consuming baby formula tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical. Hong Kong authorities also discovered eggs contaminated with melamine.
In March, for reasons unknown, 12,000 dead pigs floated down a river leading to Shanghai. Avian influenza, or bird flu, re-emerged in chicken flocks this year, killing 44 people. Nearly half the rice sold in the city of Guangzhou earlier this year was tainted with cadmium, according to news accounts.
The European Union reported that China shipped potatoes infested with insects, ginger laced with salmonella, pumpkin seeds containing glass chips and frozen calamari contaminated by arsenic to Europe last year.
USDA officials halted imports of Chinese shrimp, eel, catfish and carp in 2007 because of high levels of illegal antibiotics and chemicals. Three years later, officials seized thousands of pounds of Chinese honey after finding illegal antibiotics. And this year, more than 500 dogs and a handful of cats died after eating jerky treats made of chicken, according to an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.