Shoppers check to see what's 'Made in America'

March 2, 2011 4:20:35 PM PST
The next time you go shopping, take a look inside your shopping cart and see how much is 'Made in America.'

ABC News has focused on a family in Dallas to determine how much, or little of what they have is made in America.

RELATED: What's actually "Made in America?" CLICK for an interactive map

The answer really portrays some of the fundamental problems plaguing our economy.

It's not just housewares, but also clothing and even the food the family eats.

It seems to be imported from everywhere, everywhere else.

Tuesday on World News Tonight, we learned if we each spend just 18 cents more per day on goods made in the USA that could translate into 200,000 new jobs.

But how easy or difficult would it be right now to buy more products made in the USA? We set out to find out.

In Philadelphia on Wednesday, the Mitchells tell us they try to buy products made in the USA. So we decided to put them to the test to see whether they're accomplishing that goal.

"These were the items in your bag," we told Shirley Mitchell. "This was made in the USA. This was made in China. This was made in Guatemala. This was made in China, and these three tank tops were made in Nicaragua."

"I'm very surprised," said Shirley Mitchell. "In the fact that brought it to my attention, I'm going to check the labels from now on."

Other consumers have similar reactions when we point out, for example, pink tissue paper was made in Indonesia.

Kathleen Sullivan's Downy fabric softener sheets were made in Canada.

"I'm shocked because I don't think about buying food or cleaning products. Looking for that, I would just assume they are made in the US. But I'll look now," says Kathleen Sullivan.

Speaking of food, Action News told you several years ago that 80% of the seafood sold in the United States is imported, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tests less than one percent of it.

"The shrimp I was looking for to see the quantity, and it said Made in Vietnam, and I was surprised," said Rosie Riahatt.

We also found blackberries from Mexico and bananas from Guatemala and elsewhere, although not all consumers are concerned.

When asked if she cared whether the bananas she was purchasing was from Ecuador, Colleen Sherman said, "No, I just want my daughter to have potassium."

But if you do care whether the products you buy are made in the USA, check out this website called How to Buy American.

Its host is a guy named Roger Simmermaker who researches and publishes a directory of American-made products.

And Simmermaker says there is some good news on that front. Ford has promised to bring 2,000 jobs to the US from India, Mexico, and China by 2011.

General Electric has promised to add 1,300 U.S. jobs by 2014.

Master Lock added three dozen jobs in January.

And Wham-O, the maker of Frisbee, says its goal is to eventually produce half of all its Frisbees in America.