We have a lot of drama surrounding our food more so now than ever before. The news is littered with talk of pink slime, GMOs, organic, hormone-free, and local. And this is just the start of all the details we get caught up in regarding what we eat.
While these are serious issues to consider, a little perspective makes me happy that these are my most common food concerns. In China, people deal with so many issues of contamination and unsanitary cooking conditions that they have gone so far as to raise McDonald’s on a pedestal. In fact, the Chinese see McDonald’s as a trusted, safe and healthy food option.
Shaun Rein is the founder of China Market Research, and recently spoke to NPR about this perspective contrast. In America, McDonald’s really gets a bad rap. We blame them on contributing to childhood and adult obesity. We accuse them of using highly processed “nearly meat” products. All around, Americans tend to believe McDonald’s is unhealthy. But that’s not the case in China; not at all. The Chinese trust the American and Western brands far more than their own and feel that they are safest.
The ads for McDonald’s in China are not like ours either. One ad shows fresh tomatoes still on the vine, emphasizing the healthy aspects of the food chain. Rein explained that the Chinese are scared of their own food chains because they’ve been tampered with so many times. Rein points to past news of melamine in children’s powdered milk and cases of street vendors using used cooking oil from the sewers to explain the nation’s fear of food.
He also said the Chinese know that McDonald’s food is high in fat, but they care more about it being hygienic than balanced. The factory process that we dislike in America brings peace to consumers in China. That process equals safety to the Chinese. It makes sense though, given what they contend with on a daily basis.
I won’t stop my personal quest for healthy eating. I’ll still require the best from my food, but I better think deeper before I start to judge the fast food industry and those who eat at those places. I have the option of getting my organic, non-GMO, locally grown, hormone-free food. Others are not always allowed the option to be so picky. Sometimes they just need food that won’t send them to the hospital or endanger their children. And sometimes, McDonald’s is the best option for that.
photo via China Daily