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The U.S. government is investigating a Chinese manufacturing plant as a possible source of the problems with a Baxter International brand name blood thinner that has been linked to four deaths and hundreds of allergic reactions.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration is looking into “all possible sources of the problem” that has developed in recent weeks with the use of the drug heparin, which is sold by Baxter and used by patients in danger of having their blood clot.

Erin Gardiner, a spokeswoman for Baxter, told AP her company buys the active ingredient for heparin from a company that makes it both at a Chinese factory as well as a facility inside the United States.

The company reported it did inspections at both locations and discovered no “quality issues” in 2007, she said. She said there will be new inspections “very soon” because of the problems that have developed.


FDA officials said on their website that their investigation would include the Chinese manufacturing location and Baxter’s plant in New Jersey, where the final work on its product is completed.

The Wall Street Journal reported the agency never had completed an inspection at the Chinese plant, but FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley declined to confirm that for the AP.

WND recently reported three corporations, including two from China, were indicted for selling contaminated proteins to a company that supplied pet food makers in the U.S.

The tainted pet food was blamed for the deaths of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of house pets last year and an inflation in the fear American consumers felt toward products from China amidst a long series of reports about contaminated products ranging from sardines to toothbrushes.

WND, which has been documenting reports of contaminated products from China, has confirmed Food and Drug Administration inspectors are finding increased cases with products that have been contaminated with carcinogens, bacteria or banned drugs.

In one month in 2007, some 257 refusals of Chinese products were recorded, compared to only 140 from Mexico and 23 from Canada.

Among the products turned away from U.S. borders were:

  • salted bean curd cubes in brine with chili and sesame oil
  • dried apple
  • dried peach
  • dried pear
  • dried round bean curd
  • dried mushroom
  • olives
  • frozen bay scallops
  • frozen Pacific cod
  • sardines
  • frozen seafood mix
  • fermented bean curd
  • frozen eel
  • ginseng
  • frozen red raspberry crumble
  • mushrooms

Frozen catfish was stopped because it was laced with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines were turned away because they were coated with putrefying bacteria.

Toothbrushes were rejected because they were improperly labeled. And the FDA found Chinese toothpaste contaminated with a chemical used in antifreeze – the same chemical that killed people in Panama in 2006 when it turned up in cough syrup.

In one case, the U.S. warned consumers not to buy or eat imported fish labeled as monkfish, which actually may be puffer fish, containing a potentially deadly toxin called tetrodotoxin. Many times inspectors simply call the products “filthy” when they can smell the rot and decay evident on arrival in America.

In the age of globalization, food imports in America are big business and getting bigger. In 2006, they represented $64 billion – a 33 percent increase over 2003. No country is increasing its food exports faster than China – about 20 percent in the last year alone.

 



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