Made in the USA

July 31, 2007

Concern over dangerous and even deadly substances in products from outside the United States (especially those from China) continues to grow. Whether it is toy trains loaded with lead, tainted toothpaste or positively poisonous pet foods each new scare only makes consumers everywhere look with increasing disfavor on products from China because of their often questionable ingredients.

Meanwhile, as those countryís officials continue in a state of denial, and even seek to ban some foodstuffs from the United States, the fallout from the repeated scandals have been interesting and, in the least, provided entrepreneurs with new opportunities.

In one instance it has offered an opening to larger markets for some enterprising small companies. A manufacturer of an ìall-natural organicî pet food in this country, once limited to small, niche retail outlets like health-food stores, has suddenly found larger, traditional supermarket chains eager to stock its products.

Looking at the problem from a different perspective, IBM has begun developing and marketing special software that provides tracing tags and sensors that enable shippers to more easily monitor product distribution. This, of course, makes it much easier to initiate and implement product recalls, but does little to allay public fears about the inherent safety of imported goods.

Already, some distributors are marking their products as ìNot From China,î but that may not be enough for many consumers as uneasiness mounts over the food-product safety standards in much of the world outside this country. This is especially so because many items on American supermarket shelves have been made with components from a half-dozen or more different countries.

Should there be reports soon of more products from overseas laced with dangerous ingredients it could well be that the honored but largely forgotten old brand ìMade in the USAî will take on renewed respectability and desirability. It might mean higher costs, but when it comes to the consumerís own health nothing inspires confidence like that wonderful tag Made in the USA.

 

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