14 thoughts on “From the Department of Painfully Inexact Translations”

  1. I looked for pine nuts at Sam’s Club — imported from China. I looked for garlic at my local supermarket — imported from China. Garlic! for goodness sakes!

    It is one thing for the US to have to import from China all the high-tech items we once could make for ourselves — TV sets, computers, cell phones, etc. But when we find ourselves having to import basic food items from China, surely the message Our Betters ought to be absorbing is — Don’t Mess With China! At least, not until after Our Betters have changed direction and completely rebuilt the former US ability to make everything and feed ourselves.

  2. I honestly wouldn’t buy any foodstuffs sourced from China, especially processed foods. G*d knows what is in it, really. Not after importing pet food from China which poisoned dogs and cats.
    Everyone at Costco this morning was looking at this stack of boxes and going …”Cake … flavored with meat floss? What in the …”

  3. I would call it a strangely exact and surprisingly honest translation. There is an entire lexicon devoted to the words that may be legally used to describe food for sale in interstate commerce.

    This translates to no meat, they may use something derived from meat to create the illusion, more or less of meat. I was once in a Korean plant in Guymon, OK attached to the pig slaughter plant that produced flavoring from all the pink slime that was produced when the bones were processed to remove the last few flecks of flesh. This was used for things like ramen and mostly in Korea. I can’t but imagine that chicken meat floss is produced in some similar way.

    The surprising thing is to see it in Costco rather than some dodgy dollar store or inner city convenience store. The entire Chinese food chain starts with peasant farmers mixing fantastic quantities of antibiotic into their feed and continue enormous consumption of pesticides, many banned in most places to grow the feed. And end up with notorious Chinese quality control in their food plants. I wouldn’t believe they were safe to eat if Costco opened every box to test. Unbelievably stupid, and an unbelievable risk for Costco. Maybe this explains the $1.50 hot dogs.

    Somehow I expect the U.S. will avoid widespread famine without consuming so much a a single piece.

  4. Why would I think Our Betters want us to have any food better than what that proverbial Chinese peasant would eat?

    Never forget that Our Betters at the WEF are busy working to put insects into human food while they feast upon “sustainably produced” salmon. Note the enormous increase in food prices of late, and further note the plan to force every cow to have an individual electronic tracking tag. I’m sure that’s not to make animal protein cheaper or more available.

    They hate us and want us to starve.

    Eventually, China will get its act together and stop poisoning its own food. However, they’ll remain quite happy to ship relabeled garbage over to us, with the willful and enthusiastic acceptance from Our Betters.

    I expect Costco will keep getting those meat floss pies, but they’ll come up with a more American sounding name for them.

  5. The problem isn’t what’s on the label. It’s what isn’t on the label. The melamine that poisoned American pets was added to baby formula and poisoned babies in China. When you’re dealing with an “industry” that would spike food with a known poison to to make it worth a few dollars a ton more, the list of possible adulterants is almost infinite. Many have to be tested for individually, there’s no magic machine that will give an instant answer.

    A few years ago, someone in China for some reason substituted ethylene-glycol (antifreeze) for propylene-glycol (a common food additive) in a batch of tooth paste shipped to Central America. Several deaths and many more on dialysis and transplant lists.

  6. Meat floss is a thing in Asia. Comes in a bags, for home use or snacking (I think), or on top of a bread product. It’s usually not a filling. But the Chinese will stuff almost anything in a dumpling, with varying degrees of tastiness. I suspect that it’s dried shredded meat, and it’s usually pork, and it’s always called “meat floss”.

    That first character means “meat”, which, unmodified, means pork, much like “egg” means chicken egg (I can’t read much Chinese, but I do know “meat” and “booze”). However, neither of the other characters is “chicken”. Probably puffs or something. OK, I cheated, the second character makes it meat floss. There’s still no mention of chicken (I know that one too – watch out for “field chicken” unless you’re looking for frog).

    This is exactly the kind of food item you’d want to (need to?) import from China, or Vietnam, or maybe Japan. Garlic? Pine nuts? No idea, but it’s a huge rural country with lax environmental standards and poor peasants – and I don’t know about pine nuts, but Gilroy is being absorbed by the San Francisco Sprawl. On the flip side, the Chinese buy up all of our unwanted chicken feet. Huge market for chicken claw. Very popular.

  7. I see no chance of reversing our dependence on China for food items or manufacturers if the Democrats hold onto power. If Trump survives the election and takes office, we may see many changes but those are two big ifs.

  8. I recently bought some gunpowder green tea from China. Makes me think. But China is the main producer of green tea. India is a big tea producer, but nearly all is black tea.

  9. Like what MCS said: After the dog food with melamine added, and the stories about contaminated baby formula, and some stories about really disgusting ingredients in Chinese processed food – I swore off ever purchasing anything edible with Chinese origins – from Costco or any place else. Too many stories like those noted.

    I have seen packets of chicken feet in HEB now and again – just enough of a demand for them, I guess. I understand that they are really excellent in making up home-made broths. All the collagen makes the resulting broth jell nicely.

  10. Sgt Mom: “I swore off ever purchasing anything edible with Chinese origins …”

    Then start reading labels very carefully. I have seen “Alaskan Salmon” with tiny type noting that the fish were caught in Alaskan waters and processed in China before being shipped back to the US. We are running an incomprehensibly large trade deficit — there is a lot of stuff coming in from all over the world, including foodstuffs. Ask yourself from which countries some of the foods nominally from other places really originated.

    On the other hand — there are something like 1,400,000,000 Chinese people, all eating well and living about as long as we do. Maybe we should thank Our Betters for letting us have “meat floss” instead of processed insect, probably made from bugs imported from China!

  11. I live in a rural area, and even here avoiding Chinese produced edibles is not hard to do, so I think in cities it may be even easier (?). First, give up the reflexive urge to always buy the cheapest version of the item you want. Following that, a lot of produce and seafood have little signs indicating where they are produced, likewise individual items of produce, like avocados and apples, etc.. Put on your glasses, though, the print is sometimes small. IMO the best course of action is to source as locally as possible, if you live in the US. Yes, it takes some effort, but the horror stories are only the tip of the iceberg, and I am not saying we don’t have our own homegrown horror stories, just that we can do better if we pay attention…

  12. If you want to know where and how much food we import, here’s your answer:

    In most categories, the big winners, unsurprisingly, are Canada and Mexico, followed closely by South America, especially produce out of season in the Northern Hemisphere. This has been the case for a long time. Without taking the time to look closely, China is a very small player. Again, unsurprisingly, since they are a major net importer, much of it from us.

    A major caveat is any and all sea food and fish in general. As mentioned above, there is a disconnect between where and by whom “wild” caught fish are caught, processed and packaged which leaves a lot of room for obfuscation and outright lying. Farmed fish and seafood from any source not domestic which is controlled, is a total free for all and I won’t touch it at all.

    One problem with labels is that the USDA has played the game of; “Words mean exactly what WE say they do, not what you might foolishly read in a dictionary.” for a long time, mostly at the behest of food producers. Telling what a label means from what it says can be tough. Meat seasoned still means no meat but that leaves even more room for stuff you wouldn’t want to eat.

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