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"by their fruits"
The 'Bear' FAX
Occasional commentary-rant
on News and Life in the 'Global Village'
the Fruits of NAFTA
"hecho en Méjico"
by a Citizen of the Northern California Republic
(NCR mascot) - photo to follow...

September 6th, 1998 
"The Fruits of NAFTA"

NAFTA-berriesHowdy there, net-neighbors. 
Enjoy your fruits and vegetables today?

I ran across this amusing little story on 'Sightings'
  -  here's the clip:


      "years ago while on the first of several expeditions to the Central American
      rain forest with archaeologists studying the ancient Maya civilization... 

      Feeding research teams meant buying fresh fruit and vegetables from
      local farmers. Soil in the area is poor, and farmers are quick to
      fertilize crops with human and animal feces. Bacteria and viruses
      from the waste, of course, got all over the produce, which went
      straight from field to market with little effective washing. 

      Go ahead and munch a nice raw carrot, cucumber, or tomato in
      Central America if you dare. Then count on spending the next few
      days with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms of
      Montezuma's Revenge, also known as traveler's diarrhea."
      Ref: Human - Animal Feces Seen as Main Risk to US Produce

Well now, thanks to advances in transportation and NAFTA...

  ("The North American Free Trade Agreement which took effect in January
   1994, with the United States, Canada and Mexico agreeing to eventually
    sweep away trade barriers and compete with other world trade blocs.
    Fruit and vegetable growers in such states as Florida and Texas
    have struggled against Mexican competitors who have drastically
    lower labor and production costs." ) don't have to go on an expedition to the stinking rain forest
in order to get exotic Central American fruits anymore
they are delivered right to your neighborhood grocery store
in refrigerated trucks that come over the Mexico-US "border",
24-hours, day and night,  full of boxes of fruits and veggies
(because they need something to show the rare custom inspector
besides the hidden heroin, cocaine and cold, huddled 'immigrants'
that are stuffed between the strawberries, bananas, and broccoli).

...and I don't think the 'coyotes' have bothered to provide any 'porta-potties' for their guests or any 'in-flight' snacks - 'cause, what-the-heck, 
there's plenty of wholesome fresh organic fruit on board!

Now, as far back as 1914 there were problems with fruit imports from Mexico; "US officials first established a quarantine prohibiting the importation of Mexican avocados when they identified avocado seed weevils in Mexican avocados. Fearing pest infection, US officials implemented the quarantine which has remained on the books ever since. In the 1970s, Mexico twice petitioned for approval to export avocados to the US. USDA/APHIS rejected the Mexican requests citing 1) the apparent ease with which seed weevils were recovered in the Mexican state of Michoacan and 2) that seed weevils and Mexican fruit flies were frequently intercepted in fruit contraband at the border."

But the protection of US agriculture and the health of its Citizens
did not come into the consideration of those in whose interest it was 
to bribe our 'Republicrat' politicians into going for this 'Free Trade'
agreement in which we "must not discriminate between foreign and domestic goods"and"recognize the sovereign right of each country
to set its own food safety, and animal and plant health standards".

So if our USDA has some silly little regulation about migrant farm workers not being supposed to defecate in the strawberry patch - we can't "discriminate" against Mexican imports that may not have the same
health standards, or who may typically bribe any inspectors,
as this is the "sovereign right" of each country.

But with the breakdown of the Borders,
there is also a breakdown in ethics,
as everything seeks its lowest common denominator
and sinks in the slime that fertilizes this New World Order,
because, after all, isn't 'Ethics' a "barrier to Free Trade"?

We are being contaminated by the 'third-world' corruption typical of Mexico.  In order to do business with Mexico we will have to adapt to
their business practices.  For example, this is reported in the U.S. News
of "9/14/98":
"On a summer day one year ago, Reggie Jang was handed an envelope by a man in a parking lot at the foot of San Francisco's Chinatown. The envelope held $1,000 in cash. A federal food inspector and 35-year veteran of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Jang was responsible for ensuring that food imported into the United States through San Francisco was not contaminated with bacteria, insects, chemicals, or pesticides. The $1,000 was a bribe to allow a food shipment to enter the country without being checked.
In the seven years before he was arrested in August 1997, the 65-year-old Jang netted at least $200,000 in payoffs from five or more importers, authorities say. His co-defendant, Robert Castles, 62, an FDA inspector for 17 years, also accepted bribes to look the other way. Both pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. A year earlier, an import broker and another FDA inspector were found guilty of bribery and smuggling restricted foods into Los Angeles...

...Corrupt inspectors have even allowed food to enter that had earlier been stopped by the FDA. "Imported food tainted with dangerous pathogens such as salmonella is finding its way to the tables of American families after these shipments were rejected by government inspectors," says Sen. Susan Collins, chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which will hold hearings on these practices this week....

More than 2,400 people suffered infections from the parasite cyclospora in 1996 and 1997 after they ate Guatemalan raspberries, ... Between 5,000 and 24,000 people in the United States, Canada, and Finland became ill in 1995 after eating alfalfa sprouts contaminated with "Salmonella Stanley"... Imported seafood is a particular concern. Ecuadorian crab meat and tuna, South American scallops, and Portuguese shellfish have caused outbreaks of vibrio cholera, E. coli, and an unidentified virus....
...But the FDA has only 309 food safety inspectors for the nation's 330 ports...
Import companies have been caught in sting operations using chemicals to cover the smell of decomposing fish. In 1996, three officials of Sigma Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla., were convicted of fraud after importing $4.5 million worth of frozen shrimp from India. According to the Justice Department, employees soaked rotten shrimp in a solution of chlorine and copper sulfate to pass it off as "fresh frozen" to wholesalers who sold it to supermarkets and fast-food chains. Sigma paid $1 million in fines....treated decaying scallops with chlorine dioxide, an industrial metal cleaner, to give them a more appealing odor and a lighter color, according to an FDA publication...
...Violations included marking Chinese crayfish as Honduran to avoid antidumping regulations ...a San Diego food processor and importer, bought 1.7 million pounds of fresh strawberries from Mexico. They were contaminated with hepatitis A, but were passed by the FDA. The company claimed the berries were domestically grown and used them in frozen desserts for the USDA's school lunch program. In the spring of 1997, outbreaks of hepatitis A among at least 270 schoolchildren and teachers in four states set off alarms at the CDC, which traced the illnesses to the berries.... [and more and more and more examples]...

     Well, 'cubs', it's getting late... 

     I was going to also tell you about how "Fruit of the Loom"
eliminated 815 positions at its Jamestown plant and another 220 at the one in Campbellsville because the sewing work could be done less expensively beyond the U.S. borders, but I guess that NAFTA story can wait for the next campfire.

     Remember when you buy your fruits and veggies, read the labels,
grow your own if you can, and always go in the woods, not on your strawberries...

© 1998 by Bear @ Northern California Republic

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