Friday, December 30, 2011

Wealthy Chinese begin farming after food-safety scares

Americans aren't the only ones concerned about their food:
During the week, they are teachers, PR consultants, and computer programmers. But at the weekend, these city slickers return to the soil.

"We're worried about food safety," says He Liying, explaining why they grow vegetables.

They toil under the summer sun - not always efficiently - at a co-operative farm called Little Donkey on the outskirts of Beijing. It has about 700 fee-paying members.

It is one of dozens of farms which have cropped up across the country catering for China's middle classes, which are increasingly concerned about food safety.

From glow-in-the dark meat to dye injected into buns to make them look like a more expensive variety, there has been a rash of scandals in recent months.Whether it is exploding melons or pigs pumped full of steroids to produce lean meat, many in China simply do not trust what is put on their dinner tables.

This worries the authorities, anxious that people will lose trust in a government if it cannot ensure the safety of what they eat.

The Chinese authorities have enacted stricter policies to ensure food safety.

It includes a directive from the Supreme Court calling for the death penalty for cases in which people die as a result of poor food safety.

But regulations are often flouted in China. And with food price inflation rising, some producers will continue to cut corners in order to fatten up the bottom-line.

After a hard day's work, the group of young professionals at the Beijing co-operative farm retired to an upmarket apartment.

They cooked a meal using the fresh produce they had harvested.

"It definitely tastes better when you grow it yourself," says one of them.

But they are the lucky few, who have the time - and the money - to produce their own food.

Many others have little choice in what they eat.

If an economic system can't deliver safe, fresh, nutritious food, how can it be said to be an effective system? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.