China Vegetables to Get Olympic Identity Codes
BEIJING As if China didn't have its hands full keeping tabs on its 1.3 billion people, the country will now begin tracking its vegetables.
In an attempt to ensure food safety during the 2008 Olympics, Beijing is to give every cabbage, carrot and pea pod its own identity number and file, the Beijing News reported on Wednesday.
If there is a "safety incident" the vegetable's file can be immediately checked and its origins traced, the newspaper said, in a report accompanied by graphics showing personnel at computers tracking each vegetable's path from farm to plate.
"Safety incidents" was a likely reference to pesticide or pollutants in the soil. The environment group Greenpeace has found banned pesticides and excessive levels of other chemicals in vegetables supplied from China.
"After going through inspections at the distribution centre, standard and qualified vegetables can enter Olympic kitchens," the Beijing News report said.
The city will need more than 5,000 tonnes of vegetables during the Olympics, mostly from Beijing and the northern Chinese provinces of Hebei and Shandong.
The report made no mention of fruit.