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Home / World News / Toxic food killed tens of thousands in China in 2015

Toxic food killed tens of thousands in China in 2015

Adulterated food caused tens of thousands of deaths in China in 2015, a government report has said, putting the resultant economic loss at more than $750 million.

world Updated: Oct 05, 2016 19:05 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
Millions of people of in China are exposed to food that is toxic because of large-scale soil and water pollution, and there is rampant use of fertiliser in agriculture, said the report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), one of the country’s top research institutions.
Millions of people of in China are exposed to food that is toxic because of large-scale soil and water pollution, and there is rampant use of fertiliser in agriculture, said the report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), one of the country’s top research institutions.(Shutterstock)

Adulterated food caused tens of thousands of deaths in China in 2015, a government report has said, putting the resultant economic loss at more than $750 million.

Millions of people of in China are exposed to food that is toxic because of large-scale soil and water pollution, and there is rampant use of fertiliser in agriculture, said the report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), one of the country’s top research institutions. 

“At least two million acres of farmland across China have been contaminated. Eighty percent of pesticide goes directly into the soil, which poses a direct threat to the vegetables and crops people eat every day,” China Central Television (CCTV), the national broadcaster, quoted the report as saying. 

“The academy said China accounts for 35% of global use of chemical fertiliser every year, with the country using as much as the US and India combined,” it added. 

The full report is yet to be published but the synopsis gave enough indications about the dangerous levels of food adulteration that Chinese citizens have to deal with. 

A major threat to food safety in China is the use of “gutter oil” or recycled cooking oil. 

“Gutter oil causes cancer. But every year, two million to three million tons of gutter oil go back to people’s dining tables,” CASS researcher Li Chunhua told CCTV. 

China has more than 11.85 million food businesses with licenses, and monitoring them is a tough task. 

Lack of food safety is impacting future generations, with a separate province-wise inspection project finding in September that schools in rural China were facing risks. 

“The inspection, conducted by the office of national education inspection for the State Council, targeted 143 primary and secondary schools in rural areas in 18 provinces, including Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Jilin,” official Xinhua news agency reported. 

“Some school canteens have problems with disinfection or washing dishes, while others fail to meet food storage and safety requirements,” said the education ministry. 

Dirty food processing environments, fraud and adulteration in food production, and irregularities in transportation were uncovered, Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, was quoted as saying by Xinhua earlier this year.

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