Ever wondered why you can’t find Marmite, American beef and proper bacon at any store in Shanghai? You might be surprised to know that, whilst we do moan a lot about food safety in the Middle Kingdom, some things are prohibited for a good reason. Here’s some food for thought from FIELDS…
Sorry Brits and Aussies
The brown, thick, yeast extract that both Brits and Oz nationals like to spread on their toast – known as Marmite to the former, Vegemite to folks from Down Under – is seemingly impossible to find at stores in the Middle Kingdom.
Acknowledged as an acquired taste even by those who love it, China isn’t the only country to take exception to these strange comestibles either. Both spreads are high in B vitamins and – crucially – are fortified with folic acid. Now, while that may sound innocuous enough, this is a practice that Denmark (to take one example) simply doesn’t allow, for fear that its people may over-indulge, nutritionally speaking. Yes, you really can’t have too much of a good thing.
What’s the (American) beef?
True, sometimes politics might be involved or more specifically trade sanctions have long been used as a diplomatic weapon. And while some are skeptical about the stated reason for China’s American beef ban, notionally, a fear of BSE (aka mad cow disease) is the reason behind it all. Around 90% of US cattle consumes a hormone-enriched diet so American beef is undoubtedly packed with hormones.
Hormones are a contentious issue. Often used by factory farmers to promote faster growth and leaner meat – boosting profits as a result – scientists have warned us about the harmful effects of exposure to extra hormones, especially for children. Perhaps American beef is not that much of a big miss after all…
Bringing home the bacon
Ahhh, there’s nothing like real American bacon sizzling away in the pan, the aroma wafting through the kitchen as you wait for your breakfast pancakes. Hold that thought, an estimated 80% of American porkers are fed with a growth-promoting drug called ractopamine! The trouble is, that very same drug has been linked with cardiovascular and hyperactivity issues, leading to over 150 countries (China included) refusing to go anywhere near racto-meat. And that sounds like a perfectly sensible stance to take.
Not so well bread
Who doesn’t love spreading creamy, rich butter on a freshly toasted slice of potassium bromate? Plenty of commercial bread sold in the States, including some brands of hot dog and hamburger buns, is enriched with the additives that bleach the dough to an unnatural white and also make it more elastic. Yum! It has been linked to a frighteningly long list of health problems, affecting the kidneys, nervous system, thyroid, intestines and more. Thankfully, products containing potassium bromate are banned in China as well as the EU and pretty much everywhere else in the world. Come on America, what are you playing at?
Food for thought
Yes, it can be thoroughly annoying when you find out that your favorite foodstuffs are prohibited and often it’s hard to understand why. However, sometimes there’s a damn good reason why China doesn’t allow your home comforts to pass through its the borders. That’s food for thought as we moan about food safety and other issues – because sometimes the grass really isn’t so green on the other side.
FIELDS is a popular online grocery store for safe, quality food in China. FIELDS stocks fresh organic fruit and veg, imported and domestic meat and seafood, plus essential pantry items from home. Order before 5 pm in Shanghai and benefit from same day delivery with delivery free for orders over RMB 200. A new customer? Great – you’ll receive a free gift with your first order!
FIELDS is celebrating its 7th Anniversary from April 1 – 24. Shop during this time and automatically enter into a lucky draw where the top prize is a four-night stay in Taiwan! Also take advantage of cut-price 2-for-1 deals and 70% off. Claim free products, play games, win prizes and more!