Friday, 1 June 2007

Safer Food in China

China's former Head of the State Drug and Food Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, was sentenced to death this week. He took bribe money from the pharma industry to approve untested medicines. In one case 10 people died from fake antibiotics.
This court decision and an announced food-recall campaign are the reactions of the government to the latest food and drug scandals including the fake baby powder milk (13 babies died), toothpaste and pet food (dogs and cats died in the U.S) mixed with industrial chemicals (melamine), the red dyed eggs, the green tainted fish, fish treated with antibiotics etc.

China's Health Ministry reported almost 34,000 food-related illnesses in 2005, with spoiled food accounting for the largest number.

I also red in the China Daily, that a third of China's 450,000 food production companies had no licenses. Also, 60 percent of the total did not conduct safety tests or have the capability to do so.

stall at San Yuan Li wet market in Sanlitun

I started to worry (again) about the quality of life in Beijing regarding the food you eat and the air you breath. Fish, duck and lamb is food to be avoided, according to my TCM doctor. I thought eating fish is something healthy. Probably not in China. (And probably not in many other Asian countries, e.g. prawns from Thailand).

The same day, I read in the newspaper, that Chinese chicken is banned in Europe since five years. Wow ! I was not aware of that. I remember in the beginning of the bird flue I refused every dish with chicken or eggs. This was some years ago. I somehow seem to have forgotten about that and had some chicken lately, although well cooked with spicy sauce. Maybe I should become vegetarian, at least while living in Asia. Especially since I heard yesterday another scary story. An Australian colleague who has lived happily with his wife for years in Jakarta, Indonesia and lately in Seoul, South Korea, has lost his wife. She died fast. From the beginning of her illness to her death it was only three months. They found out she died from the 'mad cow disease'. I was shocked, I new her personally, although briefly. She was so full of life. Apparently you can have this virus in you for maybe 10 years without knowing. In Asia, meat controls like we have them in Europe, do not exist and I doubt that any 'mad cow disease' case would be reported.

So, I better follow the Chinese doctors advise and skip fish, duck (better all poultry) and lamb. As I like my beef 'medium rare' or 'sagnant' I will skip beef too.

Wow. I do not know what to eat anymore. The veggies are treated with pesticides for sure. The water you wash it with, is not the cleanest I bet...

Best time to diet... Wait a moment. I have an idea. Chocolate sounds save! And Italian pasta with oil and parmesan cheese from Italy (import in our hand luggage).

Remark: Now the government is reacting. And the world is watching. I hope, they will take harsh and fast actions (beside killing one responsible). Maybe, we soon can be more comfortable about food in China. Hopefully.
Good night from Beijing.
- Suzie -

Photo: Vendor at Sanyuanli (San Yuan Li) Market in Beijing Sanlitun, copyright -Suzie-


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Ian said...

I'd say go vegetarian!!!!

Diane Dehler said...

We have great concerns about food safety in the USA also. Corn, wheat and rice glutens imported from China were used in pet food and had melamine and other industrial chemicals added to them. Thousands of pets have died and countless more are ill. Everyone is worried about products being sourced from China. Now, it has also been discovered that some American Companies have done the same thing. It is a travesty for the people of the world, that rich corporations would commit genocide for profits. Living creatures can not eat chemical solvents. We also have other food safety issues here such as hormones and antibiotics in our meat and bio-genetically engineered food that has "pesticides" embedded in the gene of the grains or seeds. It's frightening. I am with you on the vegetarian thing. I live in a place that has a lot of local farms and so I can find some things to eat. I am very worried for the world's children.

- Susan - said...

It is scary when you think about it closer what you do to your body, your health by eating, drinking these products. Hopefully the local farmers get support, otherwise they need to use chemicals as well to ensure a high output that is not eaten up by insects. Lately I found a tiny snail in the salat (while washing not while eating) and I was so happy to see it as I thought that this might be a prove for no pesticides. Maybe.

justin said...

What a pity.... proably the best thing about china is the food!

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzie, may I know the name of the Australian colleague as I know also one aussie who has lived in Jakarta for 9 years and moved to Seoul for the last 4 years and his wife is currently sick. He is working for DaimlerChrysler. I hope it is not his wife!!

- Susan - said...

Eveline, I am sorry. It is her. Please email me.

Diane Dehler said...

Would you be interested about writing how and why you became a blogger? I would be interested in knowing. You can read about this project on my blog. I already participated and interested in learning about others.


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