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China's food safety a giant scam

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  • China's new era of food safety is taking a severe beating from dead hog flotillas, rat steaks, and toxic chicken feet.

In 2011, researchers at Nanjing Agricultural University found that 10 percent of Chinese rice was tainted with cadmium, a carcinogenic metal that causes severe damage to the kidneys and lungs. Two years later, the government finally revealed as much last week, when officials with the Guangzhou Food and Drug Administration admitted that nearly half of rice samples tested in the first three months of 2013 tested positive for toxic cadmium levels. The People's Daily (official newspaper of the Communist Party) was quick to dole out avuncular advice, recommending shoppers "diversify" their diets to avoid a concentration of food products from any particular region, thus reducing the chance of toxic poisoning.

After years of Chinese food scandals, the list continues to grow. If it’s not meat; it’s melamine milk. If it’s not milk; it’s counterfeit wine. If it's not wine, it's rice. If it’s not rice; it’s tainted honey. Illegal honey is a billion-dollar business globally and China has a sticky finger in every pot. Trace the traffic flow of the international chop-shop network of laundered honey — all roads lead to China. (Chinese honey sold domestically is of even worse quality, with fake honey making up half of market volume.) China, the No. 1 producer of honey in the world at 300,000 tons per year, has taken a bizarre get-tough approach to honey adulteration by cracking down — on the quality of honey imports from Australia.

In the future, expect more government paper regs, more assurances of change, more arrests — and more carcass armadas clogging up Chinese rivers.

Twitter: @CBennett71

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