Punishing Food Fraud in China – Part 1/2

August 14, 2011

This is how capitalism works. Wall Street Journal.com reports, “Ink, dye, bleach and toxic chemicals … have been found recently in food products in China, reigniting fears over food safety despite repeated government pledges to crack down on tainted eats.”

Sounds bad, but do not judge the Chinese before reading this entire two part series to find out that China is not alone in the struggle to make food safer to eat.

It isn’t as if China’s government is not trying to improve food safety. Al-Jazeera’s Melissa Chang reports from Beijing about China’s government vowing to improve food safety laws. In fact, according to Melissa Chang, more than 2,000 people across the country have been arrested for failing to meet food safety standards.

The Wall Street Journal says, “One of the biggest issues is the drive to make a buck at any cost, says Lester Ross, a Beijing-based attorney with U.S. law firm WilmerHale. Some companies see that by using additives, they can cut overhead costs or boost profit margins, and they merely aren’t thinking about the affects the additives will have on consumers, Mr. Ross says.”

Melissa Chang demonstrates how a chemical sauce to turn meats such as pork into beef can change any meat that isn’t beef into beef so the enterprising capitalist can charge more and increase profits.

Since living in China means awareness of such trickery, “Many Chinese,” Chang says, “pay a premium to know exactly where the food they eat comes from.”

Chang then talks about an organic food cooperative in the suburbs of Beijing, which was established by families to buy directly from organic farmers and the project has proven to be very successful.

However, Chang says, “Even the best intentions (may) go awry.” Organic in China doesn’t mean the food would qualify as organic outside China since so much of the air and water is polluted there.  It is a challenge to grow quality produce.

“Achieving better standards will take years,” Chang says.

However, what about food safety in the U.S.?

Continued on August 15, 2011 in Punishing Food Fraud in China – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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