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China has become an agricultural powerhouse and leading food exporter. Though supermarket labels may not always indicate it, a growing portion of the American diet is now made in China. In 2009, 70 percent of the apple juice, 43 percent of the processed mushrooms, 22 percent of the frozen spinach and 78 percent of the tilapia Americans ate came from China.
Unfortunately, it's not just China's food that's reaching American shores — it's also China's food safety problems.
The shortcomings in China's food safety system were highlighted when ingredients tainted with the chemical melamine entered the global food supply — including products from well-known brands like Mars, Heinz and Cadbury.
Melamine-tainted milk products sickened hundreds of thousands of infants in China, and melamine contamination is believed to be responsible for thousands of pet deaths in the United States.