Clean, healthy produce from China? Sure, if you’re a government official.


A story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle points out that some farms in China do grow untainted food–for high-ranking government officials.  Check this out:

Writer Zhou Qing, who spent three years researching farms and food
factories for his new book on food safety in China, says government officials
rely for their own food on private, truly organic farms that are off-limits to
everyone else. That assertion also is made in several books, including one
published in 1994 by Mao Zedong’s private physician, Zhisui Li. The doctor
described how the old imperial system of top-notch secret farms had been melded
and upgraded to suit leaders of the communist government.

Oh, and this is nice:

During his research, Zhou saw the dried bed of a fish farm littered with
oral contraceptives – the byproducts of a fish farmer feeding the pills to his
stock to increase weight. He no longer eats pork, China’s staple meat, after
visiting a pig farm where all the animals’ legs were broken days before they
died, to make the slaughter easier. Eggs here are routinely injected with
dangerous dyes to make yolks more yellow, he found, and banned pesticides and
additives remain widely available.

Qing’s work is fascinating and I hope it gets a readership here in the United States.  Read some of his reporting here, and find out why his book has not been widely read in China (and not read here at all, as it does not appear to have been published in English) here.


  1. …or the story in this morning’s Press Democrat about how the US can’t get the manufacturers of kid’s jewelry (kid’s jewelry?) to stop putting lead in their products. Guess where 95% of the stuff is made? Oh, you already guessed!

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