Berries In Your Cereal – From Where?
By Donald K. Allen, MS, DVM
I’m a raspberry-aholic. I admit it. There is nothing finer in life to eat than raspberries, unless it is raspberries with dark chocolate. So, imagine my delight when I saw breakfast cereals with “more berries” and more varieties, like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. But, wait, with today’s food crises occurring more often, I wondered where these freeze-dried berries were coming from. Are they from the USA, Mexico, or South America? Guess again.
My first call was to Kellogg’s, and I asked if they were buying their freeze-dried strawberries from China. The answer was, “We do not buy any finished product from China.” Hmmm. What does “finished product” mean? Is it not “finished” until it is in the box, ready to be sold? A follow-up e-mail stated, “Kellogg sources vitamins from a number of countries, including a small amount from China. Because of the Quality Assurance programs we have in place, we are confident of the safety of these ingredients.” Did you know that the PRC forbids foreign inspection of farms?
I contacted Post also and got a denial that they were buying ingredients from China. “Please be assured that none of the ingredients used in the manufacturing of Post General are from China.”
Next I contacted the biggest strawberry producer in Florida and asked about freeze-dried strawberries. The CEO answered, saying that no freeze-drying was performed in Florida, but that he believed freeze-drying was being done in California. Finally I e-mailed the California Strawberry Commission and here’s their answer: “Thank you for contacting the California Strawberry Commission with your question. The origin of the freeze-dried strawberries used as ingredients in many cereals is difficult to determine. There is no public source of information regarding origin, imports, exports and usage of freeze-dried strawberries as an ingredient. Our industry does not directly manufacture freeze-dried strawberries, but frozen strawberries from California are often used to manufacture freeze-dried strawberries. Much of the world’s freeze-drying production capacity is in China and in some cases frozen strawberries produced in California are shipped to China, dried, and then returned to the US for ingredient use. However, production of strawberries in China has increased over the last few years and may now exceed US strawberry production, so it is likely that much of their domestic production is used to manufacture frozen and freeze-dried strawberry ingredients.”
Thank you, Congress, for first allowing more and more food products and ingredients from China and other “developing” countries, and secondly for allowing US companies to hide that fact from the public. This is just one more negative effect of moving toward a “one world” or “global economy.” I guess I’ll just have to buy my fruits and vegetables locally, or raise them myself.
Donald K. Allen, MS, DVM
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