In the movie Forks Over Knives, the decline of the health of modern day Asians is sharply contrasted with the healthier eating traditions of their recent past. Interviews with young Chinese reveal that the same myths about meat and dairy are becoming just as pervasive in popular culture now as they took hold here decades ago. For example, in a country where milk was fairly unknown a few decades ago, young Chinese actually believe that milk is necessary for strong bones. All that Western influence is really paying off for the meat and dairy industries.
And getting a new population hooked on animal products that were unnecessary for centuries is taking a devastating toll on animals. This week high concentrations of the cancer causing Aflatoxin were found in Chinese milk, according to a Wall Street Journal article. The source of the contamination was moldy feed, threatening the health of animals and people. Meanwhile in Japan, Wendy’s introduces a foie gras (fattened and diseased duck liver) burger for $12 in its attempt to appeal to a more upscale diner. Back in China, cows and their calves were found roaming a landfill full of human waste (see http://freefromharm.org/farm-animal-welfare/cows-in-china-raised-on-landfills-then-used-for-their-meat/), with no protection from the elements or supervision, until they are a size suitable for slaughter.
Is all this the new face of Asian high tech cuisine? Do these Asians who once prided themselves on using whole foods and real ingredients even know what they are eating any more? Has the American food industry succeeded in marketing their impoverished and anemic food culture to Asians, disconnecting them from the animals and their suffering and the humans from their once healthy eating traditions? Will the emerging Asian affluence continue to associate animal products with economic and social status until the trend is so embedded in their culture, no one ever even thinks about it anymore, as in the West?