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Intensive farming: Safe or not?

12-16-2012 11:36 BJT

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By CCTV reporter Li Nan

A recent report into KFC China’s food supply chain has once again sparked public concern over food safety. It’s one of a number of cases that have prompted a growing number of Chinese consumers to question the safety of intensive food production.

Xu Guiyun is a professor at China Agricultural University. She and her students are busy analyzing the quality and safety of poultry product samples.

And a recent news report has made her life busier.

In late November, a supplier of fast food giant KFC China, was accused of feeding what was called toxic chemicals to chickens, to accelerate their growth cycle from 100 days to a mere 45.

Xu said, "Many are concerned about whether chickens with such short growth cycles are safe to eat. In fact, this is very common in chicken farms, both in China and abroad. It’s a result of scientific breeding, feeding, and disease control. If the chickens have toxic chemicals or excess antibiotics, they won’t pass government checks."

The experts say the "fast-grown" chickens are safe, and 45 days is standard.

But that’s not stopped the discussion.

A growing number of people are questioning whether such large-scale and intensive farming methods are helping or hurting China’s food industry. But the government scientists say the expansion is necessary.

Xu said, "Because of increasing labor and land costs, the meat and grocery industry has been switching from individual small producers to large scale and scientific production. As the food providers get bigger, the market will get more organized, and government standards will get stricter."

In recent years, China’s food industry has frequently been challenged by negative reports. According to a recent survey, food safety has become the NO. 1 concern for the country’s urban population. "

The government is working closely with the food industry to try to make the production process more transparent to the public.

But building real confidence takes time. As with all food safety issues, the consumer still holds the power.

 

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CCTV.com

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