With all the tainted food, counterfeit drugs and mysterious additives making their way to supermarket and drug store shelves, Grumpy Editor feels the time has come for major newspapers to appoint product safety editors. Along with recalls of everything from automobiles to toys, prompt reporting should add appeal to editorial sections.
So serious is the situation that this week U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission officials are in Beijing for an international safety conference. They also will meet with Chinese counterparts, seeking better safety practices by Chinese manufacturers that account for half of the recalls in the U.S.
Latest questionable ingredient from China to surface is diethylene glycol. In the antifreeze family, the chemical was found in 6,000 toothpaste tubes in Panama. That same chemical was found in cold medications earlier this month.
Warnings are increasing on U.S.-produced products, too. A recent example: General Electric’s Consumer & Industrial operation, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, last Wednesday announced it is recalling about 2.5 million dishwashers because liquid rinse-aid can leak from dispensers onto dishwashers’ internal wiring. That can cause an electrical short and overheating, posing fire hazards to consumers, the company warned.