By Nan Che
Food and Drink Correspondent
SHANGHAI (China Daily Show) – Pork that doesn’t taste like beef, milk that doesn’t make you grow breasts and non-lethal steamed buns – such things are unusual, even anathema, to many Chinese food shoppers.
So it came as a shock to housewife Zheng Wen, 37, when she recently purchased a batch of minced pork that was apparently unadulterated with chemicals, unnecessary toxic additives or carcinogens.
Zheng suspected nothing when she bought the pork at her local supermarket. Most Chinese supermarket trolleys are equipped with Geiger counters to reassure customers of their products’ toxicity.
“But when I brought the meat home, I put it in the kitchen and turned the lights off. I was shocked when it didn’t then light up like a souvenir from Chernobyl,” a shaken Zheng told China Daily Show.
“At that moment, I knew something was wrong.”
Supermarket bosses have since apologized and offered to replace the purchase with a year’s supply of unspecified meat product from Hunan, believed to be platypus.
Meanwhile, experts have reassured Zheng – and the greater public – that her pork was the exception, rather than the norm.
“China’s food industry is buck-passing around the clock to ensure that every foodstuff meets minimum safety requirements,” said Professor Fu Bao, a supply chain management expert at Beijing Normal University.
“From money-hungry slaughterhouses to corrupt regulators, complacent local governments to apathetic outlets, every possible effort is made to ensure goods achieve maximum profit with minimum regard to our fellow countrymen’s health.
“Occasionally, though, standards may unintentionally rise when something slips through the net,” Fu admitted, with a weary smile. “Alas, there’s always one good apple.”
For Zheng, however, the damage was already done. “From now on, I’m buying my products from somewhere I can trust: Russia.”
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