Beijing Olympics: Don’t Breathe the Air, or Eat the Food?

There’s a good chance that the air during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 will be harmful to the athletes. Now they also can’t eat the food (italics mine):

When a caterer working for the United States Olympic Committee went to a supermarket in China last year, he encountered a piece of chicken–half of a breast–that measured 14 inches. “Enough to feed a family of eight,” said Frank Puleo, a caterer from Staten Island who has traveled to China to handle food-related issues.
“We had it tested and it was so full of steroids that we never could have given it to athletes. They all would have tested positive.”
In preparing to take a delegation of more than 600 athletes to the Summer Games in Beijing this year, the U.S.O.C. faces food issues beyond steroid-laced chicken. In recent years, some foods in China have been found to be tainted with insecticides and illegal veterinary drugs, and the standards applied to meat there are lower than those in the United States, raising fears of food-borne illnesses.
In the past two years, the U.S.O.C. has tried to figure out how to avoid such dangers at the Olympics. It has made arrangements with sponsors like Kellogg’s and Tyson Foods, which will ship 25,000 pounds of lean protein to China about two months before the opening ceremony, but will hire local vendors and importers to secure other foods and cooking equipment at the Games.

How the hell do you get a 14 inch chicken breast? (That’s one humongous chicken).
Of course, this level of contamination isn’t very good for the Chinese either…

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6 Responses to Beijing Olympics: Don’t Breathe the Air, or Eat the Food?

  1. Hank Roberts says:

    Only allow one child per family, but it can be a really, really _big_ child?
    Seems counterproductive if resource conservation matters.
    Why is China repeating, in exaggerated form, so many mistakes that Europe and the USA made and are still making during industrialization?
    Don’t they _see_ what a bad example they have? Don’t they read the science journals? The epidemiology journals?
    Think of what the runoff from China is feeding the ocean.
    And where do your fish come from nowadays? Oh, yeah.

  2. Ben Goldman says:

    I think there is a very good explanation to your question Hank in that most Chinese are not choosing this fate, it is being decided for them. It is not a coincidence that the US has stricter environmental laws and that it is a democracy. Environmental activists in the US have been able to organize and get laws passed and more importantly enforced. In China, it does not pay to complain about a local factory owner dumping in the river or a party official expropriating your farm land to build condos on it. It is a speedy way to end up in a labor camp or worse. It is also not coincidence that US environmental laws are being undermined today and the US government is dominated by a pack of authoritarians.

  3. John McKay says:

    Don’t Breathe the Air
    Don’t Eat the Food
    Don’t Play With the Toys
    Don’t Talk Politics
    Oh, this sounds like a fun place to spend August.

  4. Sophie Hirschfeld says:

    I’m actually not that surprised. A lot of developing democracies repeat mistakes that other countries have made. Part of the reason is because of lack of ability to carefully examine everything that has gone on in other countries as they have developed. Oftentimes when they do they’re focusing on other political issues like how to handle voting and dealing with corrupted parties. They’re also still struggling with old memes that have been around since they were under a different type of rule and that hinders progress.
    It has only been, what, just over a decade? Let’s give them a little time …

  5. ozzy says:

    China, a developing democracy??? They show no signs of adopting democracy. China is a developing capitalist society not a developing democracy. Capitalism does not breed democracy. And the situation in china is not even really free market capitalism. In order to make money you have to have the party backing and the only freedoms belong to the party-associated capitalists.

  6. Sophie Hirschfeld says:

    Actually, last I read they are considered to be developing a democracy – they aren’t ready to start opening the polls for a president yet, but are showing changes that have gained the attention of people who study developing democracies. I learned of this through a friend of mine who is a part of one of the projects to study them.

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