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Lecture 11

EAS396H1 Lecture 11: EAS396 Lecture 11

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East Asian Studies
Wen- Ching Sung

EAS396 Lecture 11 Food Safety in China Key Terms “Risk Society” by Ulrich Beck “Differential mode of association” by Xiaotong Fei Food Sovereignty Social distrust Counter-hegemony Yunxiang Yan • Anthropologist at UCLA • manufactured foods risk are difficult to calculate and control • the biggest risk is social distrust in Chinese societies • He cares about morality in Chinese societies • Historical review of food safety in China o Stage 1 (1950-1982) ▪ main problem is public canteen problems 49 out of 139 cases ▪ poor sanitation, unsafe storage of leftovers, lack of hygiene regulations, improper cooking methods ▪ staff made no effort to cheat the customers ▪ food-poisoning cases caused by pesticides or harmful chemicals began to occur in 1970s ▪ 1982 Food Hygiene Law o Stage 2 (1932 – 2002) ▪ Poisonous food • Poisonous Food o Food adulteration: cooking oil o Food additives: antibiotics, colorants, hormones o Pesticides used as food preservatives o Fake foods: fake milk powder, fake medicine, fake egg, fake soy sauce etc. • Possible Causes o Government regulations and industry ▪ 500,000 large-scale food processing companies ▪ 350,000 small and medium-sized enterprises ▪ over 20 million private owned business in the food retail line ▪ Source: Xinhua, 2008 ▪ profit-driven manufacturers ▪ inefficient inspection systems ▪ loopholes in food legislation and labeling laws • no organic food, but there is Greenfood label • Greenfood equals to our regular food in Canada • political leaders can access to those organic foods o Cultural explanation: differential mode of association ▪ also provides a rationale why they put additives ▪ concept to promote differential mode is by Fei Xiaotong • studied under Malinowski • trained in the UK ▪ Distinctiveness of Chinese society ▪ How does China differ from the West? • a common dichotomy: individualism (Westerners) vs. collectivism (Chinese) • Fei Xiaotong said Chinese is egocentrism • He means that in the social network of Chinese society, it suggests that for farmers, they have a miss conduct and apply different morality in different social realm • For westerners he suggests that each individual in that society has the same right, responsibility and privilege th • theory that developed in early 20 century o Role of S&T: risk society ▪ The pesticides and chemicals can save time ▪ more chemical stuff in the food and they have to develop an efficient way to detect the chemicals in the foods ▪ China has GMO rights ▪ Chemicals also happens in medicine as well ▪ science is intertwined with industries ▪ the conflict of interest with who they speak to • Ulrich Beck: Risk Society o Examples of risks caused by science and technology ▪ Nuclear plant explosion – we don’t have control of S&T ▪ Bhopal chemical explosion ▪ global warming and environmental pollution ▪ poisonous food • Reflexive Modernization o Modern time we enjoy the advance of S&T and we don’t worry about the food supply
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