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Question by : I live in the Sacramento Valley, why is produce from China cheaper?
I am in the heart of the most agriculturally productive valley in the world: The Sacramento Valley. We produce fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc. So why is it that all of my produce is imported thousands of kilometres from China?
How can this be cheaper than my neighbor selling it to me?
If it’s not safe, why is it sold at WalMart?
Answer by Lisa B
First, you may well find cheaper produce from your neighbors at farmer’s markets, and you should, because it will be safer and more environmentally conscious.
But in answer to your question, the United States, and California especially, has laws protecting labor from severe exploitation. China does not. So in China agricultural workers and processors get slave wages. It is the labor cost that makes much of the difference. (Taxes make some difference also.)
The price you pay is that you do not know how safe the produce really is, and whether the environment was severely damaged by its production.
Try to buy California grown produce whenever you can, even if it is a little more expensive.
Edit: In answer to your question, safe is relative. Many people in the US have gotten ill from supposedly “safe” produce. Buying from a known local source is always safer.
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