May 30, 2007

The Chinese have a food quality problem at home too.

From the Scientific American:
Wary of food safety, China consumers shop with care
First bird flu made eating poultry worrisome. Next it was tainted pork. Pesticides in vegetables. Toxic additives in processed foods.

Chinese consumers could be forgiven for not knowing what to eat any more, and many wealthier urbanites are saying the country's string of food safety breaches is making them think twice about what they put into their shopping carts.

"Look at the color of these things," said 32-year-old Ning Qiyun, poking at a package of sliced reddish sausage in the supermarket counter.

"We eat a lot less of these kinds of things now. In fact, I buy very little of this sort of thing," said Ning, shopping for dinner for her husband and 10-year-old daughter.

Ning's comments coincided with a report from Xinhua news agency that about 60 percent of edible oil on sale in the southwestern city of Chongqing might cause food poisoning and harm the human liver and kidney.
A bit more:
At home, China's citizens are treated to a near-daily diet of stories of mass food poisonings or tainted products, and the government is starting to take action.

In the most dramatic of a series of measures, from announcing a system of food recalls to blacklisting producers who break the rules, a court sentenced to death the former head of the national food and drug agency for taking bribes in exchange for drug approvals.

Zheng Xiaoyu may have been made a scapegoat in China's efforts to show the rest of the world it is serious about cleaning up its food and drug industry, but if the judgment was unusually harsh, residents were feeling little pity.

"We should not have any mercy for Zheng Xiaoyu. Even death would be too good for him," read one posting in an online forum. "The amount he took in bribes is a small thing, but his corruption in medicine has brought calamity for 1.3 billion Chinese people."
A death sentence is a bit draconian but it at least shows that the Chinese government has started to take notice of the probem... Posted by DaveH at May 30, 2007 2:12 PM