Restauranteur in China finds vertical integration (growing their own food) is the only way to ensure quality

From David E. Gumpert’s The Complete Patient blog:

“Ever since Lejen Chen, a Chinese-American, opened her New-York-style diner, Mrs. Shanen’s, in Beijing seven years ago, the biggest challenge has been ensuring a clean safe supply of food.

By clean and safe, Chen isn’t talking necessarily about pathogen-free. She means free of the chemicals, pesticides, toxic sludge, and GMO products that have contaminated so much of the Chinese food supply, as epitomized by the scandal over melamine-tainted baby formula, along with other dairy products. She also means having access to “clean manure.” Too often, she says, “We’d find needles and asbestos from roofing” in chicken, pig, and cow manure purchased from neighboring livestock farms.

I met Chen recently in the Boston area, on one of her trips back to the U.S. She told me about the journey she and her husband, Shan En, have taken to feel comfortable about the food they serve in their restaurant, where the clientele is about 60% American and 40% Chinese.

She said the spread of dangerous chemicals has led to higher cancer rates in many cities and towns. The widespread use of pesticides means “more people are committing suicide with pesticides.” Increasingly, people are becoming concerned about where their food comes from.

So gradually, she and her husband have taken control of producing ever more of their restaurant’s food. They began by renting a couple of green houses to produce safe lettuce. But they were always concerned their produce might be exposed to chemicals used by a neighboring grower, not to mention trash and smoke from cigarettes–so, the couple searched out land to lease near the restaurant….”

Read the rest on David’s blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s