Chinese economist urges food safety at book launch

By Xu Fan ( ) Updated: 2014-10-28 08:54:19

Chinese economist urges food safety at book launch

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Chinese economist Dong Zhilong has been haunted by food safety issues for the past three years.

"In China, the food industry is one of the biggest concerns. Food scandals cast a long shadow over the industry and harm its public image," he said at a news conference on Sunday to promote his new book, A Bite of Safe Food (Shejian Shang de Anquan).

Bejing-based Dong, who founded the China Economic Forum and has written a dozen books on economy and finance, revealed that his latest book is partly inspired by his research across China’s eastern and central provinces of Anhui and Hunan, and in Shanghai city.

During his tours, he discovered that most local farmers were reluctant to eat the vegetables they grew for fear of chemicals that may have affected them.

"If all the vegetables and grains are grown in a traditional way (without the help of fertilizers, under natural conditions), the harvest period is usually much longer,” Dong said. "But China’s rapid economic development has enabled more people to acquire safer food, not just enough food."

The development of ecology-based agriculture should be the way forward to resolve any outstanding food safety issues, he said.

"The further rise of China should push the country to develop an ecological agriculture industry," writes Dong in his new book.

Dong also said that based on his longtime research, genetically modified foods have potential risks. The safety of GM vegetables "hasn’t been tested" through a qualified procedure.

"Human beings haven’t gone so far as to rely on such foods," he said. "The authorities should not be short-sighted."

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