How to tell if food is made in China: Read the barcode! – The FDA is finally acting! They have started blocking milk products from China that may be contaminated with melamine.

In BBC News, Jonathan Beale reports that the FDA has not only banned milk imports, it has issued a nationwide “import alert,” since this has to do with more than just milk. The list of foods they plan to inspect include cereals, snack foods, cheese, ice cream, carbonated drinks, candy, puddings and pet foods, all of which may contain melamine, which is used in the manufacture of plastics and fertilizer.

The FDA is planning to open offices in China to inspect these products before they are exported to the US.

The way to tell where a food comes from is the same as the way to tell if it’s organic: read the barcode.

The first 3 digits of the barcode is the country code wherein the product was manufactured, but unlike the sticker on organic fruits and vegetables, it doesn’t tell you where the manufacturer obtained the ingredients it used to make the food. However, you can assume that Chinese food all uses Chinese ingredients, so it’s best to avoid food from China right now, especially if they contain milk producrs.

All barcodes that start with 690,691,692 (etc.), up through 695 are all MADE IN CHINA (471 is Made in Taiwan. Although Taiwan, as a democratic country that broke with China when it went Communist, does not officially have trade relations with mainland China, this standoff has been softening in recent years, so we do not know if they are using any Chinese ingredients).

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