IN THE NEWS

Bloomberg News|Sep 12, 2014

Rotten Food ‘Wikipedia’ Fights China’s Fake Meat


Wu Heng’s favorite meal was braised beef rice before he saw a post on a Chinese social networking site displaying two identical photos of ’beef’ side-by-side.One was beef from cows. The other was pork chemically treated to taste like beef. “Cheaters! Unacceptable!” he thought.


Outraged, Wu decided to take matters into his own hands. So, he put his master’s degree on hold to create what he describes as a “Wikipedia” that tracks food safety and questionable manufacturing in China.


He called it “Throwing It Out the Window,” -- a name inspired by a story he read on U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt supposedly tossing a sausage from the window after reading about food production horrors. Since its inception in 2011, Wu’s site has compiled a list of more than 3,000 instances of potentially unsafe food and now has more contributors than he can count.


“I felt like a victim, and I thought others might feel the same way too,” said Wu, 28, who works as a writer. “I’m hoping the site will help build the power of the market to drive change. Even if we can’t make changes, I think that if you are having unsafe food you should know you’re having it.”


His efforts show how China’s citizens are getting increasingly vocal in fighting health and environmental hazards. Chinese police last month arrested 17 men for selling poison-laden dog meat, according to state-controlled media. They separately seized about 30,000 tons of chicken feet treated with excessive amounts of hydrogen peroxide -- to lighten the meat’s color.



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