Tuesday, May 29, 2007

the not really sleeping giant

There have been some interesting things happening in China involving the food industry.
And by interesting, I mean rather disturbing.
Specifically, two articles have recently caught my attention. The first, published Saturday last, involved the discovery of 5000 rare animals, packed in crates, on their way from their perilous habitats in "south-east Asia to the restaurant tables of southern China." Among the animals found were "31 pangolins, 44 leatherback turtles, 2,720 monitor lizards, 1,130 Brazilian turtles." Most, though severely dehydrated, were found alive. Unfortunately, a number of bears were not so lucky as 21 severed paws were also found aboard, wrapped in newspaper.
It's true that pangolins have anal scent glands that emit strong, foul smelling secretions and that monitor lizards can't even grow their own tails back. But the trend of extinguishing species, as useless as they may initially seem, for reasons like making it easier for mothers to breastfeed their babies, which is what the scales of a pangolin are used for, seems unfair.
To top things off, the former head of the Chinese Food and Drug Administration has been sentenced to death for accepting bribes during his tenure. He can appeal and potentially have his sentence lessened to life. We should be asking whether this is a punishment fitting the crime.
Zheng Xiaoyu has accepted nearly a million dollars over the years to approve substandard drugs and medicines that have caused the deaths of over twenty people. In 2005, thirteen babies that were fed a diet of powdered milk died because there was no nutritional value found in the supplement. There have also been deaths because people who thought they were taking effective antibiotics were taking chump-pills. China is now implementing a system to recall tainted food and drugs which will hopefully be able to warn people before it's too late.
China has some sway on this planet, with its population of 1.3 billion people.
We best be getting on the same page with things like conservation efforts and drug standards because the 'sleeping giant' has long been awake.

the return

Well friends, after a two month hiatus, your blog of choice is returning. My sincere apologies to the faithful readers who have been anxiously checking for updates. I'll explain - when this arduous semester reached its prayed for conclusion, the thought of updating my blog sent me to the corner, shaking and sweating. Fortunately, I have been revived after a month of defiantly-claimed holidays and am back to inform you on the world of food and so on.
Sunkissed and refreshed, I feel as though I face a new and exciting challenge.
Previously I had been blogging for grades, which I might akin to begging for food. I now blog for different reasons - the pleasure of my readers from whom I expect undying devotion, and because I think this is an important topic to create some dialogue around. Sounds self-involved? It is.
Welcome back friends.