[FOUNTAIN]Punish food crimesThe native people of the South Pacific islands of Fiji, Nauru and Tonga were originally skinny. They lived mainly on fish and fruits. However, these island countries have become the fattest countries in the world. Over half their population suffers from adult diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Ever since the country was exposed to fast food, obesity increased sharply. The World Health Organization has warned that “The scariest disease on earth is obesity.”
During the Cold War era, the weapons the USSR and China feared most were not nuclear warheads from the United States. It was a bacteriological weapon America had that could cause smut disease, which dries out cereals and makes black spores. America had enough smut bacteria to entirely destroy the rice in the plains of China and Ukraine’s breadbasket. Nuclear weapon damage is limited to a certain area but if food disappears, the entire country will disappear. Food is the base of life. When the food people live on changes, individuals’ physical constitutions change and society also starts to change. Contaminated food is a public enemy. We shouldn’t let people who play tricks with food survive in our society.
Yukijirushi, a Japanese company established by Hokkaido farmers, was a large company that grew to dominate 80 percent of Japan’s dairy market. In 2000, a bacteria got into the milk tanks of the company’s factory in Osaka. Because of this incident, over 14,000 people suffered food poisoning. The next year, it was revealed that the company had sold Australian meat as domestic, by just switching the packaging. Due to these two incidents, the factory that had made over 10 trillion yen shut down.
China’s punishment for contaminated food is the death penalty. Producers of fake milk powder in 2004, which caused the death of 13 babies, were all sentenced to death. Criminals that caused 50 casualties by making liquor with industrial alcohol were shot to death. The fact that China pursues those responsible is noticeable. It is a guilt-by-association system that also punishes public servants in charge of monitoring the food found to be contaminated. After the milk powder scam, nine high-ranking public employees were dismissed.
Nowadays, parasite eggs have been found not only in Chinese kimchi products but also in Korean kimchi. “The issue of food safety exists wherever and whenever human beings exist. It is a problem of all human beings,” was the statement from the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996.
If one can’t eat anything without worrying, the country is not in proper order. Everyone’s health comes from the kitchen.
by Lee Chul-ho
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.