Food Safety & Suduko

Now I am not the best at Suduko ( the number puzzle that is in almost every newspaper these days) , but I do like to challenge myself every now and then.  Often I get right to the end, thinking I have the puzzle solved and then, low and behold, I find I have too many nines in a row. Where did I go wrong…

I am having a similar feeling today regarding food safety in China.

I have been talking about the subject quite a bit lately and had pretty much formed the opinion that most of the food is safe and that most of the food purveyors were trying their best to offer wholesome products. Painted oranges had to be a one off, right?

Don’t get me wrong there are still plenty of issues with pesticides and hormones and antibiotics (as in every country) but by using moderation, choosing to use organic foods and eating a variety of foods, you should be all right.

One of my other suggestions  has always been to eat locally.  In theory, the produce has less travel time to market, less likely to need chemical enhancement and therefore fresher.  Yesterday, I began to question the wisdom of that advice.

In the February 17 issue of the Shanghai Daily, there is an article on hormone pumped cucumbers. In the governments’ defense the article was about a warning that went out to Shandong residents to avoid the local cucumbers.  The tainted cucumbers are easy to spot as they have flowers attached to the end. Apparently some clever farmers/chemists figured out how to speed up the growing time of the cukes by a applying a solution made from birth control pills.

Just when I thought I had it figured out, China comes up with another nine for me. Actually I don’t think this changes too much.  Eating locally still has its benefits.  What this “super cuke” does do is reminds us is that if the food item doesn’t look right , being much larger than normal or having flowers when it shouldn’t, then it probably isn’t a safe choice.

So Shanghai foodies keep your eyes open and pick up your flowers at the flower market.

Eat Well, Live Well and Have Fun !

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