Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Old habits die hard

Even when what you are doing is causing death:

China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday denied that melamine-tainted protein exports sold to the United States had caused the spate of pet deaths. President Hu Jintao urged China's farmers and food-processing industry last week to improve food safety, prompted by the quickening pace of scandals over adulterated and tainted food.

The food scare shows a country caught between old habits of covering up - or denying - outbreaks of food-related illness and a modern desire to address problems squarely as the nation becomes a link in the global food chain.

Chinese citizens themselves worry a great deal about the safety of their food. A survey by China's Food and Drug Administration, cited by the state Xinhua news agency, found that 65 percent of Chinese are concerned about the food supply.

Food poisoning made headlines repeatedly in the past three weeks alone. Watermelon tainted by pesticides sickened residents in Guangdong and Shaanxi provinces last week. In southern Fujian province, 34 students fell ill after eating mushrooms at a cafeteria April 17. A day earlier, 60 migrant workers grew sick in Shanghai from canteen food. Police are investigating how rat poison got in breakfast food at a hospital in Harbin on April 9, making 200 people ill and killing one person.

The tendency to cover up, or minimize, the cases is strong in China.

And the result of secrecy and coverups is customers not buying your products. Are you listening, FDA? Give us the information to decide. It's that simple.


Steve Bates said...

It's an evening for musical posts, no? Why do I find myself humming Bob Rivers's infamous parody, "Cat's in the Kitchen," of Harry Chapin's original "Cat's in the Cradle," for the second time this month?

'Scuse me; I have foodstuffs I need to throw out...

ellroon said...

Gah! That song is obviously very infectious. Ack!