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Packed on/Best before: China and supermarket food safety

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I have always thought to be an attentive buyer and to be able to recognise the good food from the bad simply looking at and touching it. This ability enabled me to fully enjoy my staying in different European countries, also in the southern hemisphere. Well, since I am in China I have lost the confidence in my ability and I have adopted a (quasi paranoid) behavior of looking at the food labels. The reason for this is that since my arrival (4 months) I have been sick three times, with diarrhea, vomit and two very expensive hospital check-ups. Two days ago I had my very worst experience, with the symptoms described above together with high fever and a flesh on the face (with small black spots around the eyes). The worst thing for me is that I did not get sick eating in restaurants, but cooking and eating at home (and for an Italian this is a very demotivating experience).

So I feel like to list some advices for my self (so I hope to remember how to behave next time) and for the Italians (relatives, friends, compatriots) that are coming to China for a visit or for a long staying:
  1. If you like to cook fish and meat, buy food in Metro. According to many people the products there are better than in other places (I still have to check it out).
  2. At home and in restaurants avoid to eat any raw meat and raw fish unless you are really sure about its quality.
  3. Always look at the expire date of the products. The food may be already went bad and still be on sell on the supermarket shelf.
These advices are probably obvious for the majority of buyers, but unfortunately not for me as, as Italian, I grew up in a country where supermarkets have to undergo high hygiene and quality controls and goods are thouroughly checked before being put on the shelf and also after. I still have a lot to learn to make my Chinese experience a comfortable one but I am confident I am on the right way.

admin123 • 4. April 2009


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