Someone sent a link to a Consumerist article my way, and it inspired a kind of anger in me that forces me to write rather than just sit back, and I wanted to do more than just comment over there.
Yes, there’s a lot of rage and anger over the pet food issue, but this is just jumping on a bandwagon with little consideration for the local dynamic.
The article angers me on one level, but the comments just make me want to smack people.
If you do not have an understanding of just how extremely shady the food industry is, do not get on a high horse about other people’s practices, because that’s some kind of wrong. Not only that, but I appreciate any attempt at not wasting as much as we do under current standards. Look at the sad pathetic bags full of food behind most food businesses most nights of the week that it’s not exactly legal for them to give to starving people. Nevermind that they wouldn’t turn a profit from it.
Think of how seldom you see “day old’s” for sale anymore.
Even if I can’t plead to resource use issues, I can go back from the China angle and plead the cultural side. China is very good at using their trash as a resource. This is something most people in this country should be very happy about because there would be a lot less new stuff on the market for people in the US to buy when China decides wholesale it needs everything as brand-spanking-new as people in this country.
People who buy food on the street from a vendor in China are very clear it isn’t the cleanest food in the book. Steps towards regulation, well underway in Shanghai, serve to cripple food culture, because not everything made on the street is recycled KFC, but alot of it is made using homemade portable technology meant to be cheap and easy to carry away.
I embarked on my China experience trusting nothing but streetfood because as a vegetarian, the only way I could ensure there was no meat in my food was to watch people make it. This meant I ate at places you wouldn’t go for a formal dinner, but I also never got sick. Even when I went back to eating meat in 2000, I never got sick from street food. You have to be smart about it, sure, but again, there’s something about seeing how your food is cooked, knowing if the person wrinses their hands or wears gloves, or properly insulates the food etc.
I never got food poisoning from street food in China. I also never ate anything off a heating rack for street food (which is the case for re-fried chicken… ick). I have had food poisoning before. Where? Restaurants, both in China and the US.
I am particularly frustrated that people are all outraged over practices without really considering the comparisons. What are normal industry procedures for processing stuff? A lot of the food production process is a big mystery, so I dislike lodging horrible complaints and attacks against practices that are likely used in several places.
Chinese coworkers in Shanghai and Hefei used to scold me for eating street food, because to be honest, they know that it is some kind of shady. It is also wonderfully cheap, a very close interaction with the producer of the food, and easy to verify the level of cleanliness.
Of course, I’m a grad student who thinks nothing of eating discarded donuts, or leftover lecture snacks.