Sunday, May 6, 2007

Hey Martha, Can I Borrow That Cough Medicine Recipe?

If I had a nickel for every bottle of liquid cough syrup I've bought over the course of raising four kids, I could probably buy a gallon of gas for our car, or something equally expensive. That's why I was pretty alarmed when I read this article, which explains how mystery chemicals coming out of China are being sold to medicine manufacturers who don't bother to check what they're buying. The result has been mass poisonings in other countries.

Now I'm sorry I laughed at Martha Stewart when she published a recipe for making your own cough drops in her magazine. We may want to go back to the old homemade remedies now that China is undercutting everyone's price on medicinal ingredients by substituting an antifreeze ingredient for glycerine. So far our FDA is staying on top of the situation, but how long can that last?

After all, we Americans will go for anything made in China if we can get a good price on it, right? That's why so many of today's cheap (in price and quality) clothes are from China. American pets have been sickened and even killed by pet food that contained a poisonous ingredient from China. Sooner or later, counterfeit drugs from China will find their way into our medicine cabinets.

The global economy has developed to the point that we are importing food and medicine from all over the world, including places that don't have the same rules for safe consumption that we do. Maybe it's time to consider where the things we consume come from, and whether we wouldn't be better off consuming locally grown foods, and medicines whose sources we can identify as trustworthy. An interesting book that introduced me to the wisdom of eating locally is Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher.

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