Tainted milk, diseased pigs sold on the market, 40-year-old meat discovered in a warehouse in Hunan, and lead-contaminated water in a newly built Hong Kong housing estate—these are just a few examples of the food scare nightmares that have come to light in China in recent years. More such stories continue to surface, seemingly on a weekly basis.
Once contaminated or tainted products enter the supply chain, no one can be sure where they will end up. Millions are directly impacted. In addition, such scares ultimately affect everyone by fueling a high level of mistrust throughout the society.
Christian business leaders in China may have a role in helping to stem this disturbing tide.
The restaurant business, in particular, is one field where Christians are seeking to have an intentional impact. One entrepreneur in South China opened a seafood restaurant together with a former nightclub owner who had given up his previous business after becoming a Christian. When their chef also believed, he stopped adding MSG to his dishes out of concern for their customers.
Their supplier is another believer who operates a fish farm in a neighboring town. Before this man became a Christian his ponds became infected and the fish died. Later, after he believed, he felt called to nurture fish that were healthy and eventually found a specialist who taught him how to put herbal medicine into the ponds. In return for supplying fish to the restaurant, he requires that the waiters at the restaurant explain where the fish are raised, including the fact that, in accordance with biblical teaching, the blood is removed before the fish is cooked, resulting in a fish that is safer and more nutritious.
Given the prevalence of food scandals in China since the mid 2000s, a supply chain that ensures the safety and quality of the food produced becomes itself a source of value. The impact of one restaurant may be limited. In the future, however, such “Christian value chains” may become more common in other sectors and may even become a competitive advantage as believing CEOs explore the connection between their faith and their businesses.
Image credit: Fish farm Zhuhai by Chris via Flickr.
Brent Fulton is the president of ChinaSource and the editor of the ChinaSource Quarterly. Prior to assuming his current position, he served from 1995 to 2000 as the managing director of the Institute for Chinese Studies at Wheaton College. From 1987 to 1995 he served as founding US director of... View Full Bio