Following up on Sindicator’s last episode about Food Security in China, let’s look at how food security and food safety go hand in hand. Simply put: security is about quantity, while safety is about quality. But let’s be real, when we talk about China, we’re always talking about quantity. And quality of that much quantity is difficult to oversee, especially in the context of MEAT.
Recently, China has seen an unparalleled increase of demand for animal products, leading to a meatier Chinese diet. How much meatier? Well, since 2012, China ranks as the No. 1 meat consumer in the world. The country now eats a quarter of the world’s supply, or 71 million tons a year. For you bacon freaks: more than half of the 107 million tons of pork eaten worldwide were consumed in China. Mmmm… bacon.
The rise in demand has been a big topic in food security talks, and has been met with a lot of outsourcing, exemplified by these mega-value “Meal Deals”:
- The Smithfield-Shuanghui pork production deal came to a whopping $4.7 billion; it was the largest buyout of an American company in history.
- Argentina and Brazil have reshaped their landscapes to grow soy feed for China’s livestock.
- New Zealand milking its FTA with China to provide dairy to its new No. 1 importer.
- Australia’s landmark deal in 2014 promises a million live beef cattle valued at more than $1 billion to be shipped to China, where they will be slaughtered and eaten.
And from that great circle of life that your hanbao deluxe sprung, there is a lot of potential for error in the logistics chain. Meaty food scandals include:
- Shuanghui was found using illegal additives such as clenbuterol in their pork. Oh, and maggots. Also there were some maggots.
- Husi Food Co, a unit of American OSI group, was videoed reusing expired meat, and meat that had fallen to the factory floor.
- In 2013 16,000 pigs were found floating in Shanghai’s Huangpu river, in a fantastically dark Porkpocalypse.
A reason why much of China’s animal product supply comes from abroad is because safety standards are more developed in other countries. Another reason is because China only has 12% of the world’s arable land, which is not enough to support the livestock needed to feed 1.3 billion people. This means the most carnivorous country (by volume) is getting the meat sweats in maintaining viable food security policies. Can’t wait to see what this year’s No. 1 document has to say about the situation.