Going Organic: Find the safest food in China
With headlines of foods scares splashed across the news every year, the focus on where our food comes from and what is being done to it is increasingly in the spotlight. If you want to know where to buy organic and how to talk about organic food in China, then read on.
Organic farming has taken off in China, growing rapidly after food safety scares continue to come to light. Some of the major scandals highlighted high levels of cadmium in rice, use of steroids in pigs to promote growth and contaminated strawberries. All of these have understandably made consumers more wary of what is happening to their food and pushed them to buy organic food. This focus on where food is coming from is increasingly popular as modern Chinese living becomes more and more urbanized.
Unfortunately, in China, you have to still be on your toes as there is a very real problem of fraudulent labeling, lax standards and the severe environmental pollution affecting air and soil quality. This does not mean that eating organic is a lost cause in China. There are many people who care deeply about producing safe, organic food – you just need to know what to ask and where to go.
For city dwellers living in Beijing and Shanghai, there are now a number of companies that will deliver organic produce direct to your door.
For those living in Shanghai:
- this is a list of organic food suppliers.
For those living in Beijing:
- Tootoo is a certified organic farm based near Pinggu.
- In Beijing, you can visit the weekly farmers market Facebook page.
- Outside of Beijing and Shanghai, Fields China has an organic selection for online purchasing.
For anyone else shopping in the nearest supermarket or wanting to ask your local seller about organic food, let’s be clear on how to navigate the vocabulary.
- 有机 – yǒujī ＝ organic. 有机 – yǒujī = Can be used in conjunction with other nouns, for example, 有机超市 – yǒujī chāoshì (organic supermarket) or 有机食品 – yǒujīshípǐn (organic product) for the simplest way of indicating whether something is organic. This is also what you shall see printed on food labels.
- 有机物 – yǒujīwù ＝ organic matter
- 有机物 – yǒujīwù = refers to organic compounds which are used more in a scientific manner.
- 绿色食品 – lǚsèshípǐn = organic food, clean food product. 绿色食品 – lǚsèshípǐn is another way to say organic produce, the word green here expresses the meaning that it is eco-friendly and is used frequently with other words to show that it is environmentally friendly. For example, cycling is an eco-friendly way of getting around, can be called 绿色出行 – lǚsèchūxíng = green transport/eco-friendly transport.
- 无农药 – wúnóngyào = organic farming, farming without the use of chemicals.
- 无农药 – wúnóngyào = farming without chemicals.
- 农药 – nóngyào = Pesticide.
- 转基因生物 – zhuǎnjīyīn shēngwù = Genetically modified organism
- 有机农产物 – Yǒujī nóng chǎnwù = organically farmed produce
Click for more lessons on Organic Food:
Favourite ChinesePod lesson: "The frog prince in the well".
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