August 8, 2009

Organic food movement grows in China

China's organic produce movement is growing steadily amid recurring health scares and a desire for a return to natural food, some growers say.

The Chinese people are very aware that their food is rubbish, said Romuald Pieters, director of Sustainable Development & Agriculture Creation, a consulting firm working in China.

Last year's contaminated-milk scandal reinforced fears about China's food supply, a legitimate concern in a country where most farms rely on toxic sewer sludge to fertilize fields, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Fearful of the sludge, pesticides and chemical fertilizers, a small group of growers have established organic farms to sell produce and educate the public about healthier food, said Lejen Chen, owner of Green Cow farm, about 20 miles from downtown Beijing.

As more organic produce comes to market, more people people will begin to trust food suppliers again, said Terry Yu, who owns organic stores in nine locations in China,

Customers don't trust the chain, and the chain doesn't trust its supplier -- no one trusts anyone, Yu said.