Fake food-scandal (this time not a fake-food scandal)

When following news about the problems concerning food exported to the United States I caught myself questioning whether the food we are eating everyday really is safe. Media reports said that shiploads of food to be exported into the US had to be returned to China, because it contained chemicals, antibiotics or other non-wanted ingredients. US media seemed to cover the scandal, especially highlighting deadly pet food and dangerous tooth paste that was sold in America.

As part of China’s response Western goods like bottled water were rejected, and the US were told to first care about their own supply. But as this topic was present in the news, it somehow managed to get into the Chinese media, as well. After the prizes of pork have been drastically increased (the government even started to subsidize meat for low-income families) the climate of doubt has been established. Chinese still remember the time of SARS and according to rumors the lack of pork meat is caused by swine fever.

Baozi
Steamed baozi, often eaten for breakfast, on a street market in Suzhou.

Last week there was a report on how bad Chinese “baozi” are. In the climate described above, people tend to easily believe that Beijing’s baozi were not only made from natural ingredients, but also from cardboard (up to 60 percent) and some chemicals. The public obviously believed the story, the news was spread quickly via blogs, I happened to hear a conversation between two young Chinese about the report aired on Beijing Television. However, two days later it turned out that the report was made up, and the journalist in charge has been detained in the meantime. Usually it’s the other way round in China: There are problems that are not mentioned in the media, this time a problem was subject of media reports – but it wasn’t a true problem after all.

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One Response to “Fake food-scandal (this time not a fake-food scandal)”

  1. beijing07 Says:

    Update: China put into effect a set of reference standards for the production of steamed bread: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-01/03/content_7359991.htm

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