We have to admit that when we first started we didn’t have a great deal of knowledge. After we were contacted by the TGA we consulted experts to help us ensure that we were delivering the highest quality, compliant products to our customers. In the process, we learnt a great deal and we decided to ensure that we made very certain that our products were made in Australia and that all of the ingredients in our teas were of the highest quality possible. We discovered the only way to do that was to make sure the ingredients come from countries that are highly regulated.
We have learnt that there are concerns with adulteration of herbal ingredients from China as well as heavy metal contamination so to rule out any risk of this being a concern for our products SkinnyMe Tea very proudly sources most of its ingredients from Australia or Germany, which has a deep-rooted history in the study of herbal medicines and goes through strict regulations for the herbs it produces.
Many of our competitors source their ingredients from China, which can actually be quite scary because you never know what you’re going to get. The lack of regulations and low-quality standards have led to some very serious health problems. Even when you think the ingredient is “safe”, if it’s from China, you cannot be so sure.
One of the largest health scandals involving ingredients from China is the 2008 milk scandal. This scandal involved milk and infant formula, along with other food materials and components, which were adulterated by melamine, which is a flame retardant and pesticide. The ingredient was added to the milk and formula because it increased the protein content, therefore, making it more profitable. There were 300,000 victims in total, 54,000 hospitalized babies, and six of the babies died. Four years earlier, in a separate, less publicized incident, watered down milk lead to the death of 12 infants due to malnutrition. The World Health Organization said this incident was one of the largest food safety events it has dealt with in years. A similar incident with melamine was discovered in eggs and possibly other foods exported to the United States despite a 2007 ban on the ingredient. A spokesman said the scale and gravity of the problem proved that it was, "clearly not an isolated accident, [but] a large-scale, intentional activity to deceive consumers for simple, basic, short-term profits.” Meaning, this is a common occurrence in China, and due to the political corruption in and lack of organized food regulation system, there is simply no way to know if you’re getting a quality product or a poisoned ingredient used for someone else’s quick profit.
China is no stranger to controversy regarding the quality of its ingredients and products. Countless scandals have broken out over the decades, not to mention the thousands of cases that didn’t make headlines. Just to mention a few, there have been cases of heavy metals in herbal extracts, prescription drugs in weight loss products and aluminum in dumplings, mercury in skincare products, glow-in-the-dark pork, urea in bean sprouts, 40-year-old meats, hepatitis A in frozen berries, plastic rice, formaldehyde in beer, sewage used as cooking oil and tofu marinated in human feces. All you have to do is google “Food safety incidents in China,” and your mind will be blown.
Of course, it’s not only the food we eat. The product manufacturing in China has been a corrupt free-for-all for years. Even the Chinese themselves would rather buy their milk products and food from countries like Australia. An expert on the issue, Paul Midler, author of the book “Poorly Made in China”, explains that much of the Chinese manufacturing problem is “quality fade.” Quality fade is, “the deliberate and secret habit of widening profit margins through a reduction in quality of materials.” This means that after foreign companies make deals with Chinese manufacturers, often ones that seem too good to be true (because they are), the Chinese manufacturer complies with the agreed upon specifications, but shortly after, the quality of the promised product starts to deteriorate. By cutting costs after the deal is made, it then makes the deal much more lucrative for the Chinese manufacturers. Not only do these cost cuts make the product unethical, it often makes it extremely dangerous. Packaging is cheapened, chemical formulations altered, sanitary standards curtailed and so on. The importers of these products may very well know this is happening, but don’t want to know too much because that would then ruin the deal they are making a huge profit on. If the problems are undetected by the consumers, it is great for both companies. Some Western companies have begun to use outside laboratories to test ingredients, which may seem like a great idea, except there are too many ways to get around these tests, such as sending more products to test than needed and only using the one that passes. Because there is not a good regulation system, they get away with these sort of tricks all the time.
Many of the more modern Chinese manufacturers also outsource their work to much smaller factories which don’t have to worry as much about environmental regulations or standards of products or workers. So even if you are not concerned about the quality of your product or integrity of the ingredient, there is also a moral question regarding the standards of practice many of the labor in China endure. Though child labor, prison labor, or even slave labor doesn’t only happen in China, China is a country notorious for this kind of practice. Conditions in factories can be filthy and even lead to the death of the children workers due to the complication of health. Most Westernized countries have very strict laws that prevent this kind of slave labor and working conditions.
What consumers don’t always realize is that they are the ones in control. For every Chinese manufacturer, there is an importing company selling that product and a consumer buying that product. Without consumers, there would be no need for anything to be manufactured. The importing companies are making huge amounts of money by jeopardizing the safety of their clients and integrity of their product. Choosing your herbal products that are made in countries such as Australia which have well intact regulating systems, ensures the quality of the product. SkinnyMe Tea’s Evening Cleanse is a listed medicine and is on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. This means that it is produced in a facility that complies with the Good Manufacturing Practice, so you know you’re getting a product that has been tested and quality assured, something that the competitors have not done. For more information on this issue go to links on the TGA’s website below: