What the pandemic taught us about food imports from China

As the pandemic compelled the world to look eastwards and into its deep dungeons, a new issue was boiling underneath the chaos; how safe is the food that is being imported from China?

With hundreds of videos that are doing their rounds across several platforms , showing the condition of the wet markets in China and its suburbs, the people across the globe have gone into a state of frenzy. Everybody is concerned about the safety of the imports from China, especially food.

The greed for higher benefits in China’s flourishing business sector economy, joined with the absence of viable assessment and law implementation, and the relinquishment of hygiene and cleanliness campaigns, have all added to the exacerbating circumstance of sanitation. China is presently reaping the outcomes. Thousands die from food poisoning in China. Scams related to Baby formula or Stale Meat hit Chinese markets regularly.

China owes a huge chunk of its GDP to India and the rest of the world because of the overwhelming exports. Chinese goods have pervaded every kind of market and have even found their space in the food sector. More often than not most of the domestic products in the country find their origin in China.

Indian import from China in terms of food products has increased manifold in the past few years. Between the years 2008 to 2018 the total import value has risen from 45.13 million USD to 148.55 million USD. This brings the danger of sub quality cheap ingredients into the Indian market. Cheap Chinese confectionaries with low quality ingredients, harmful preservatives hit Indian markets through illegal imports especially during festivals like Diwali.

Such illegal imports from China strike a big blow, as it harms the domestic food and beverage market. Beans, bamboo, instant noodles etc are some of the major items of import. Besides posing a threat to the domestic farmers in India, who are already in distress because of the lockdown, it is not easy to forget that these products come from the same place where the pandemic started. There are no checks to determine the quality of these illegally imported products.

Another major fact thatis prevalent in practice but often not discussed is the impact of the Genetically Modified (GM) seeds that are used in China and that are produced in the Chinese factories. The GM products have the potential to bring great benefits in the developing nations. Research shows that the GM seeds have an improved nutrition rate, have enhanced pest-resistance; they increased yields and new products. However, all is not rosy in the health effects of these seeds. This means that the stakes are quite high and so are the clandestine risks associated with the usage of the GM seeds.

The greatest danger brought about by GM foods is that they can adversely affect the human body. It is considered that the use of these genetically designed foods can cause the advancement of sicknesses which are resistant to antibiotics. Furthermore, as these foods are new developments, very little is known about their long-term consequences for individuals. As the wellbeing impacts are obscure, numerous individuals like to avoid these products. Makers don’t specify on the labels that the foods are created by genetic control since they feel that this would influence their business, which is definitely not a decent practice. Numerous communities are against the consumption of such foods since they consider it to be an unnatural method of delivering nourishments. Numerous individuals are additionally not happy with moving animal genes into plants and vice-versa. Adding to that, this cross-fertilization strategy can damage different living beings that flourish in the environment. Specialists are of the opinion that with the monopoly of such foods, agricultural nations would begin to be more contingent upon theindustrial nations because it is likely that the food creation would be controlled by them in the future.

Given the current bilateral relationship that India has with China and the established predatory instincts of our neighbor, India needs to have its guards on and be cautious of food products imported from China. To be dependent on an entity that wants our subjugation would be nothing short of a suicide mission for our farmers and food producers.

At this time, India needs to focus more on the development of agriculture within the country than importing it from outside. This will enable it to do two things, first, it will revive the business of the industries that have gone at a dormant stage because of mass imports; and second, it will enable the agricultural scientists to widen their horizon and put their skills into research, invention, and technical advancement thus creating opportunities for India to compete at a global level.

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