The Poisoned Rice Bowl

Imaginechina / Corbis

H7N9 avian influenza joins a long list of food and environmental scares making life in China hazardous to health

Any parent knows that dinner is a big deal when growing boys are involved. But in Beijing, where I live, mealtime choices for my family are shrinking. In March, a major river that supplies drinking water to Shanghai was clogged with more than 16,000 dead pigs. Can you blame me when I say that pork sounds less than appetizing these days? Now a strain of avian influenza called H7N9 is infecting humans in eastern China. Most of the sick are believed to have handled poultry; two are confirmed to be butchers. Chicken for dinner? Perhaps not. Meanwhile, I've seen enough fetid...

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