(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND), a global plant-based protein company, today announced the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the Jiaxing Economic & Technological Development Zone (JXEDZ) near Shanghai.
As Beyond Meat’s first end-to-end manufacturing facility outside the U.S., the cutting-edge plant in Jiaxing is expected to significantly increase the speed and scale in which the company can produce and distribute its products within the region while also improving Beyond Meat’s cost structure and sustainability of operations.
Designed to serve China’s growing plant-based meat market, the facility will produce Beyond Meat’s innovative range of plant-based pork, beef and poultry products, including Beyond Pork™, the company’s first innovation created specifically for the Chinese market.
By producing closer to the consumer and leveraging local supply chains, Beyond Meat is investing in the growth of the plant-based meat category in China and the facility underscores the company’s commitment to China as a region for long-term growth.
In addition to scaled production to support the company’s expanding retail and foodservice business within China, the facility will also feature R&D capabilities to create unique product offerings and support Beyond Meat’s local strategic partners.
“The opening of our dedicated plant-based meat facility in China marks a significant milestone in Beyond Meat’s ability to effectively compete in one of the world’s largest meat markets.
We are committed to investing in China as a region for long-term growth, and we believe this new manufacturing facility will be instrumental in advancing our pricing and sustainability metrics as we seek to provide Chinese consumers with delicious plant-based proteins that are good for both people and planet,” said Ethan Brown, CEO and Founder of Beyond Meat.
The announcement comes just one year after the company first entered mainland China through a nationwide partnership with Starbucks China.
Within its first year in the market, Beyond Meat has expanded menu offerings at Starbucks China and has partnered with well-known foodservice and retail brands including KFC, Pizza Hut, Jindingxuan, GangLi Beijing, Slow Boat Brewery, Hema, METRO China and more. The facility is intended to pave the way for Beyond Meat to efficiently scale-up to meet future needs and demand.
“The plant-based meat market in China continues to expand and Beyond Meat has been enthusiastically met by local consumers who are looking to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
The opening of the new Jiaxing plant is expected to enable us to quicken the pace of innovation and roll out our products at the speed and scale needed to remain highly competitive within the region,” said Candy Chan, General Manager for Beyond Meat in China.
Beyond Meat’s strict ingredient guardrails and commitment to making products utilizing simple, plant-based ingredients without GMOs has enabled the brand to expand product distribution throughout China and around the globe with ease and speed.
In addition to the opening of the new manufacturing facility in the JXEDZ region, Beyond Meat will also be opening its first owned manufacturing facility in Europe this year in an effort to make plant-based meat more accessible to all.
Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) is one of the fastest growing food companies in the United States, offering a portfolio of revolutionary plant-based meats made from simple ingredients without GMOs, bioengineered ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, or cholesterol.
Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat products are designed to have the same taste and texture as animal-based meat while being better for people and the planet. Beyond Meat’s brand commitment, Eat What You Love™, represents a strong belief that there is a better way to feed our future and that the positive choices we all make, no matter how small, can have a great impact on our personal health and the health of our planet.
By shifting from animal-based meat to plant-based meat, we can positively impact four growing global issues: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources and animal welfare. As of December 31, 2020, Beyond Meat had products available at approximately 122,000 retail and foodservice outlets in over 80 countries worldwide.
Beyond Meat Forward Looking Statements Certain statements in this release constitute “forward-looking statements.” These statements are based on management’s current opinions, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or projections regarding future events or future results.
These forward-looking statements are only predictions, not historical fact, and involve certain risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions. Actual results, levels of activity, performance, achievements and events could differ materially from those stated, anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements.
While Beyond Meat believes that its assumptions are reasonable, it is very difficult to predict the impact of known factors, and, of course, it is impossible to anticipate all factors that could affect actual results.
There are many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements made herein including, most prominently, the risks discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on March 1, 2021 as well as other factors described from time to time in Beyond Meat’s filings with the SEC.
Such forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this release. Beyond Meat undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement because of new information, future events or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.
If we do update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be made that we will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.
How China Could Change the World By Taking Meat Off the Menu
Fri, January 22, 2021, 3:10 PM
A customer tucks into a meat-free banquet at Green Common café in Shanghai on Jan. 13
Credit – Xiaopeng Yuan for TIME
It’s lunchtime in Shanghai’s leafy former French Concession, and every table is crammed at David Yeung’s new café and grocery, Green Common. Office workers and shoppers huddled against the January chill are wolfing down plates of katsu curry, noodles and spicy dumplings.
For Yeung, the popularity of his first outlet on the Chinese mainland is a source of considerable pride, given that its doors opened barely two weeks earlier. But he’s more pleased by its other distinction: no animal products grace the menu at all. Instead, plant-based alternative proteins, sourced from China, Korea and the U.S., are used in these traditionally meat-based dishes. “The idea is to showcase some of the best products from around the world so that people can enjoy a mind-blowing vegan meal,” says Yeung, who is also the founder of the Hong Kong plant-based protein firm OmniFoods.
The buzz around Green Common is another sign that China is on the cusp of a plant-based-protein revolution that has investors as well as diners licking their lips. China came by its love of meat only recently; in the 1960s, the average Chinese person consumed less than 5 kg of meat annually. But as in comes soared following Deng Xiaoping’s market-driven “reform and opening” of the late 1970s, consumption rose to 20 kg per capita by the late 1980s and has now reached 63 kg. Today, China consumes 28% of the world’s meat, including half of all pork.
But as in rapidly modernizing societies everywhere, today’s Chinese are embracing healthier lifestyles, not least following health crises like the coronavirus pandemic and African swine fever (ASF), which wiped out half of China’s hog herd between 2018 and 2019.
China’s market for plant-based meat substitutes was estimated at $910 million in 2018—compared with $684 million in the U.S.—and is projected to grow 20% to 25% annually. KFC has begun selling plant-based chicken nuggets. Yeung’s pork substitute OmniPork is now on the menu across China at thousands of Taco Bell and Starbucks branches, where it is used to make everything from tacos to salads.
Competitor Z-Rou—rou is Mandarin for meat—is offered by supermarkets, restaurants and two dozen school canteens.
The implications could be transformative not just for China but also for the world. More than any other nation, China has the ability to leverage economies of scale. It has done so many times before: some of China’s richest entrepreneurs positioned themselves at the vanguard of breakthrough technology slated to receive huge state backing, such as solar panels, mobile payments and electric vehicles.
Li Hejun, dubbed the nation’s solar-panel king, rose to become China’s richest man in 2015 with a fortune worth $30 billion by riding a wave of renewable-energy subsidies that also caused prices to plummet and spurred widespread their adoption. State backing for AI unveiled in 2016 helped spawn top tech firms including TikTok parent ByteDance, the world’s most valuable unicorn, worth some $100 billion.
Could the state do the same for meatless meat? Just as international food conglomerates like Nestlé, Unilever and Cargill are plowing millions into plant-based protein, Chinese competitors are jostling for market share in anticipation of huge state contracts and government perks like tax breaks and free factory space.
David Ettinger, a partner at Keller and Heckman LLP’s Shanghai office, says now is “the most exciting time” of his two decades specializing in food law: “Rather than managing things, I think China will let the industry lead.”
The largest impact may be not on the economy but on the environment. China has already pledged to see carbon emissions peak by 2030 and make the world’s worst polluter carbon-neutral by 2060. As livestock farming produces 20% to 50% of all man-made greenhouse gases, finding alternative protein sources is crucial to meeting these targets. Halving China’s animal-agriculture sector could result in a 1 billion metric-ton reduction of CO2 emissions.
Crucially, state action could have real consequences—China’s authoritarian system enables it to dictate commercial priorities and consumer behavior across its 1.4 billion population. While Donald Trump disparaged global warming as “an expensive hoax,” Joe Biden has called it “an existential threat.”
Whether the superpowers can work together on this issue may ultimately define whether the world can meet its emissions targets over the next decade. “You can’t do anything on climate change unless you bring China with you,” says professor Nick Bisley, dean of humanities and social sciences at Australia’s La Trobe University.
The ripple effects would be felt globally. Apart from reducing carbon emissions, water consumption and the risk of zoonotic pathogens entering the human population, switching to plant-based protein can help safeguard rain forests cleared for the cultivation of animal feed and protect people against the heart disease, cancer and diabetes associated with heavy meat consumption.
There’s still some way to go before China eagerly embraces novel proteins. The higher cost and un-familiar taste of meat substitutes may prove to be obstacles to turning plant-based protein into an everyday staple across the world’s largest population. Regulators also need to give the industry sufficient room to flourish.
But entrepreneurs like Yeung say it’s getting easier to make a case to bureaucrats and consumers alike. “After the last few years, it’s no secret that meat production is infinitely risky,” he says. “Disease and extreme climate issues are sadly not going to change unless we make a change first.”
Until recently, the primary motivation for people to shun meat was concern for animal welfare. Not anymore. Today, broader concerns about the environment and health are energizing millennials and Gen Z globally to embrace flexitarian lifestyles, where animal products are purged from diets at least some of the time. As in the U.S., China’s cosmopolitan cities are leading the way. In 2008, just 5% of Hong Kongers classified themselves as vegan or flexitarian, according to a Hong Kong Vegetarian Society survey. Today, it’s 40%.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, which was first detected in China, governments and consumers around the world are more cognizant of the swelling risks posed by industrial farming and reliance on imported food. But COVID-19 wasn’t the only, or even the first, alarm bell.
The ASF outbreak that decimated China’s pig population in 2019 resulted in national pork output hitting a 16-year low. In December, Japan suffered its worst avian flu outbreak on record, which led to the culling of 5 million chickens. Vince Lu, the founder of Beijing-based alternative-protein firm Zhenmeat, says the pandemic, the trade war and environmental degradation are galvanizing interest in plant-based proteins.
“China urgently needs an alternative meat supply,” he says. “It’s about national security.”
Chinese consumers have turned plant-based meat alternatives into a $910 million industry and growingXiaopeng Yuan for TIME
Signs are building that the state will put its weight behind plant-based meat.
China’s government has published guidelines to cut meat consumption in half by 2030 to reduce pollution and combat obesity. In August, President Xi Jinping launched a “clean plate campaign,” calling food waste “shocking and distressing” and highlighting the need to “maintain a sense of crisis about food security” in China.
For David Laris, an Australian celebrity chef and environmentalist who has had restaurants in New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai and London, “It’s just a matter of time before Xi says we’ve all got to eat less meat in a big way.”
Culturally, the Chinese are perhaps better placed to embrace plant-based protein than Americans indoctrinated by a powerful meat lobby and a founding myth built around cowboys and beef ranches. (Even so, many Americans are fast changing their eating habits; alternative milks like soy, oat and almond accounted for less than 1% of the overall U.S. market a decade ago. Now it’s 12% and growing.)
In China, by contrast, “mock meat” has been popular with Buddhists, who often do not eat meat, since the Tang dynasty, with tofu a substitute for fish and taro for shrimp. Fried dough sticks dunked in soy milk—records of which date back 1,000 years—remain a popular breakfast across the Middle Kingdom. Vegetarian restaurants are commonplace near Buddhist temples and shrines.
Every Chinese supermarket stocks a dazzling array of bean curd and substitute meat products made with gluten.
This kind of familiarity is helping plant-based protein go beyond the purview of “tree huggers,” as Yeung puts it.
In January, Chinese fried-chicken franchise Dicos—a KFC rival and one of China’s top three fast-food chains—swapped the real egg in all its breakfast sandwiches with an alternative derived from mung beans made by California-based Eat Just.
At the BrewDog pub in Shanghai, customers quaff craft porters and pilsners over games of shuffleboard while ordering nachos and burgers from a menu that proudly offers both meat- and plant-based options. “Around 30% of sales today are plant-based,” says general manager Gabriel Wang.
Eat Just CEO Josh Tetrick, who recently opened his first foreign office in Shanghai, predicts that by 2030 the majority of eggs, chicken, pork and beef consumed by urban Chinese won’t require animal ingredients. “It’s going to happen a lot faster than people realize, and Asia will lead the way,” he says.
But popularizing plant-based meat beyond China’s cities might be a greater challenge. Government guidelines promoting plant-based proteins for factory canteens and school cafeterias would play an enormous part in reducing costs and raising public awareness. Some private schools are already electing to feed students with meat alternatives; for example, Dulwich College high school in
Shanghai serves weekly meals prepared with Z-Rou. But as budgets for lunches in government-run schools stand around 7 rmb ($1.08) per student, state intervention in the form of subsidies and mandatory quotas may be necessary to make plant-based options feasible across the board. Given the potential size of school contracts, this could be transformative—and also familiarize the next generation with meat alternatives. “If we want to win a customer for life, students are a great place to start,” says Z-Rou founder Frank Yao.
The fact that plant-based proteins are currently priced considerably higher than their animal equivalents is an undeniable hurdle for notoriously thrifty Chinese consumers. Yet this is expected to change as competition and scale drive down costs.
Moreover, snowballing agricultural crises like avian flu and ASF can make meat prices extremely erratic. Pork prices more than doubled in China in 2019 following an ASF outbreak, making it extremely difficult for restaurateurs to both keep customers smiling and turn a profit. That plant-based proteins are largely immune to such fluctuations—and help mitigate disease outbreaks that cause spikes in meat prices—is a huge boon across the industry.
The biggest barrier to plant-based meats might be its most elemental: taste. While the industry has come on by leaps and bounds over recent years, elderly Chinese so obsessed with freshness that they trawl wet markets that sell meat and fish could prove a stumbling block to widespread adoption of processed, packaged alternatives.
That will change over generations, for sure, although now the race is on to engineer plant-based meat products specifically to Chinese tastes. Whereas the popularity of ground beef in the West makes it the obvious starting point, Chinese diners typically have far wider tastes, including meatballs for hot pot, filling for dumplings or strips of meat for stir-fries. Zhenmeat is even working on a plant-based shrimp substitute. “Right now, the technology’s not ready for plant protein to make the texture of a chunk or slice of meat,” says Zhenmeat’s Lu. “It will require investment and patience.”
Still, the technology is so undeveloped that there is endless potential to improve taste and cut costs. There are existing protein-synthesis techniques—incorporating fermentation, micro-algae and insects—used in cosmetics, biomedicine or industry processes that could potentially be repurposed for food.
“We’re starting from scratch here,” says Yao of Z-Rou. “So why can’t China create brands and have a seat on the table for what the future of food is going to be?”
Albert Tseng, co-founder of impact investment firm Dao Foods, is backing 30 startups that focus on the Chinese plant-based-protein market, including established player Starfield.
One venture is utilizing cell-based meat, or animal protein grown in a laboratory. Although more controversial than synthesizing meat from everyday plant materials like soy or wheat, the technology is growing fast. In 2017, China signed a $300 million deal to import cultured-meat technology from Israel.
At last year’s Two Sessions annual parliament, Sun Baoguo, president of the Beijing Technology and Business University, argued cell-based meat alternatives were a matter of “strategic importance” to “guarantee China’s future meat supply.” For Tseng, “there are the talent, resources and capital in China to really build this industry.”
It’s already happening elsewhere. In November, Eat Just, the maker of Just Egg, became the first firm anywhere to receive regulatory approval for selling cultivated meat, after being given the green light in Singapore for its lab-grown chicken.
With the coronavirus galvanizing anxiety over the fragility of food supply chains, the tiny city-state has set ambitious new targets to produce 30% of its food domestically by 2030. But given that less than 1% of Singapore’s 270-sq.-mi. area is agricultural land, innovations like vertical farming and cellular meat will be key. Many other governments are becoming more accepting of alternatives.
“In places like China and Singapore, there’s less of a fixation about what happened yesterday and more on what makes sense for today and tomorrow,” says Tetrick.
There would be losers in a major shift toward meat alternatives. Beyond the disruption to China’s $82 billion meat market, there’s also the fact that 60% of soy grown across the world is currently shipped to China, mainly for animal feed.
The success of plant-based protein may decimate crop demand and prices worldwide, upending markets and roiling politics. The question for all, says Yeung, “is do the collective wins outweigh the losses?”
Given the weight of scientific evidence, it’s growing ever harder to justify eating meat as simply a personal choice. Much like smoking in public, Yeung says, eating steak and bacon every day has collateral environmental impact that jeopardizes the future of everyone.
China, like the world, is waking up to the risks of asking our planet to support 7.7 billion people as well as 677 million pigs, 1.5 billion cattle, 1 billion sheep and 23 billion chickens. “The reality is that industrial livestock farming isn’t sustainable,” says Yeung. “We don’t have a choice. We have to change.”
With reporting by Madeline Roache/London
This appears in the February 1, 2021 issue of TIME.
TA-FC ClipBoard: China said not that long ago that they wanted to lead the world. I guess the world should have known it would be in the area of exploitation of non-human animals.
It looks like a human fetus doesn’t it? Monkeys have blue eyes? Oops, just checked below and it is human. It’s a human-monkey. Let some of those escape their prisons and they could rule the planet.
It could have been born, but the Chinese decided to abort the fetus. I wonder if that is indeed true. Chinese aren’t particularly known for their truth-telling traits.
I wonder if the human part was Chinese? Yeah, so now we have Chinese monkeys in the world. Africans step aside. You’re no longer IT! Where did China get these monkeys? Africa isn’t the only continent where monkeys live.
“Núñez downplayed the fact that the university behind the research has a “catholic” moniker. The team, made up of members of the Salk Institute in the United States and the Murcia Catholic University, genetically modified the monkey embryos.”
“We are doing the experiments with monkeys in China because, in principle, they cannot be done [in Spain]” said Estrella Núñez.
I guess the question is why do we want to make people live so long that they need new organs to survive? And why use other animals for that purpose? Why make them slaves to endure the most awful pain and suffering?
It’d be interesting to know if they inserted intellectual traits. They said if brain cells grow, then the brain self-destructs. I doubt that. How were the blue eyes of this human-monkey functioning absent a brain?
Where’s the conscience of the world on this? With China? The USA? Even Catholics don’t mind? Those against abortions it appears are only against abortion for humans, not other animals? So is it to preserve the human race or some other purpose? What kind of incubator would house the human-monkey?
And how could this so-called embryo that looks like a fetus grow an organ big enough for a human without being born? And once born, what happens then? How do you care for the newborn? Do you feed it? Does it have a digestive system? It has to have a circulatory system, since organs need a blood supply, plus oxygen, which means lungs. And a nervous system to provide the nerves to the organs, which means that human-monkey can feel pain.
How do you stop the organ tissue from growing is another question? You don’t need a liver the size of a piano.
These experiments are reckless and harmful.
Humans just can’t stop enslaving, torturing and slaughtering other species for personal gain and profit. Why? Because other species can’t fight the process. Humans with a conscience are going to have to do that for them. sldt
World’s first ever human-monkey hybrid grown in lab in China
A HUMAN-MONKEY hybrid has been grown in a lab in China in a world first scientific breakthrough.
By Henry Holloway / Published 1st August 2019
Scientist admits human-pig hybrid ‘is exciting’ in 2017
Scientists have successfully formed a hybrid human-monkey embryo – with the experiment taking place in China to avoid “legal issues”.
Researchers led by scientist Juan Carlos Izpisúa spliced together the genes to grow a monkey with human cells. It is said the creature could have grown and been born, but scientists aborted the process.
The team, made up of members of the Salk Institute in the United States and the Murcia Catholic University, genetically modified the monkey embryos.
Researchers deactivates the genes which form organs, and replaced them with human stem cells. And it is hoped that one day these hybrid-grown organs will be able to be translated into humans.
“We are doing the experiments with monkeys in China because, in principle, they cannot be done [in Spain]” said Estrella Núñez.
Project collaborator Estrella Núñez hailed the experiment as “very promising”.
The team have not yet published their findings, but confirmed the hybrid to EL PAIS.
“We are now trying not only to move forward and continue experimenting with human cells and rodent and pig cells, but also with non-human primates,” Izpisúa said.
The scientist, from Spain, was responsible for creating the first human pig hybrid in 2017. Izpisúa however said his human-monkeys are much better than his human-pigs. Team member Pablo Ross said: “The human cells did not take hold. We saw that they contributed very little [to the development of the embryo].
“It was only one human cell for over 100,000 pig cells.”
The scientists have also experimented with creating human birds with rats and mice, with the hope to developing transplantable hearts, eyes and pancreases…
China is inching closer to the end of the legal human consumption of dog meat, multiple outlets report.
On Wednesday, the country’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs announced that it would no longer classify dogs as livestock, meaning the animal can’t be bred for food, milk or fur, according to Reuters.
“As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilization and the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been ‘specialized’ to become companion animals, and internationally are not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China,” read the notice, per the outlet.
Humane Society International estimates that some 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed in China every year for meat. A spokesperson for HSI told The Guardian that the policy is a potential “game-changer moment for animal welfare in China.”
“That signals a major shift, recognizing that most people in China don’t eat dogs and cats and want an end to the theft of their companion animals for a meat trade that only a small percentage of the population indulge in,” said the spokesperson.
Earlier this month, Shenzhen officially became the first city in China to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat, with the new law going into effect on May 1.
A recent ban on the consumption of specific wildlife meat in China is a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after some of the earliest infections were found in individuals who visited a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, according to TheNew York Times.
The Shenzhen government decided to extend the ban to cats and dogs as these pets “have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals,” according to BBC News. Additionally, “banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan.”
The proposed change will also fine Shenzhen restaurants found serving dog and cat meat.
Dog and cat meat consumption is not prevalent in many areas of China but is the most common in Shenzhen’s province of Guangdong and the neighboring province of Guangxi, which is home to the controversial Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
China Bans Trade, Consumption of Wild Animals to Counter Virus
February 24, 2020, 4:52 AM EST
China’s top legislature imposed a total ban on trade and consumption of wild animals, according to state-run China Central Television, a move that aims to curb activities that scientists say may have caused the deadly coronavirus to jump from animals to humans.
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress took the decision at a meeting on Monday. The move should restrict trade and protect biodiversity, said Li Shuo, a senior global policy adviser at Greenpeace in Beijing
The coronavirus is proliferating globally, roiling markets and business, after originating in China where more than 77,000 people have been infected and over 2,500 have died.
The virus emerged in early December in Wuhan, an industrial city of 11 million in Hubei province, and early attention focused on a seafood market where live animals were sold, even though a third of the first 40 cases or so were found to have no link to it.
The process of ending trade and consumption “will be a challenging exercise,” said Li. Defining what wildlife is, whether Chinese medicines are included and what counts as illegal are some of the issues that need to be tackled, he said.
Seized pangolin scales in Hong Kong on Feb. 1.
Photographer: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images
According to the People’s Daily, wild animals covered by the ban include those that the Wildlife Protection Law and other laws prohibit people from eating, terrestrial wild animals that China protects as they have “important ecological, scientific and social value” as well as other terrestrial wild animals including those bred in captivity.
China issued a temporary ban on trading in wild animals shortly after the outbreak of the virus, and pressure has been mounting to make the prohibition permanent.
The existing Wildlife Protection Law bans the sale of food from endangered species, but doesn’t cover all wild animals. International animal rights groups have criticized the use of exotic animal parts such as tiger bones, bear gall and pangolin scales in traditional Chinese medicine.
Walk into a North American supermarket, and there are rows upon rows of frozen meat to choose from. In China, however, there’s a preference for freshly slaughtered pig, chicken and beef. And that desire for ‘warm meat’ is at the heart of a growing concern.
The recent Wuhan virus outbreak in China has been linked to a wet market in the eastern region of the country. The respiratory disease was transmitted from an animal to a human, but is now being passed between people.
But that’s just one virus spread through animals. And diseases such as avian flu in poultry and African Swine Flu (ASF) have been difficult to eradicate, as chickens and pigs are shipped from farmhouse to market on a daily basis.
Despite the risks, markets are central to Chinese life. While there are supermarkets stocked with frozen meat (which staff say is the same meat provided to vendors elsewhere), the customer flow is a trickle compared to the hustle and bustle of the so-called “wet markets.”
That’s partly because widespread refrigeration has only recently come to China. In some rural and lower income areas, fridges are still rare. Among older consumers who have grown up buying perishable food for daily use, shoppers say they can tell the quality of fresh meat by its smell, colour and texture.
Dirk Pfeiffer, a professor of veterinary medicine at City University in Hong Kong, says while trust is high for shoppers at wet markets, many customers still see supermarkets as alien and suspect.
Socializing is also part of the market experience.“I actually believe that it is an important thing for the older generation to go to the wet market and have a chat,” said Pfeiffer.
As fresh meat continues to be associated with viral outbreaks, though, how sustainable the appetite for wet markets may be is unclear.
US states join global push to ban animal-tested cosmetics
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A growing number of U.S. states are considering a ban on the sale or import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals, as advocates argue testing products such as lotions, shampoos and makeup on rabbits, mice and rats is cruel and outdated.
(1 of 11) Scientist and study director Jennifer Molignano uses an electronic pipette to prepare culture medium, a dark pink fluid that provides nutrition to living human skin tissue, as she sets up a demonstration of experiments at a MatTek Corporation lab, in Ashland, Mass. Molignano demonstrated experiments created to evaluate the effects of exposing living human skin tissues to commercially available skin care products, as well as an experiment to evaluate the effects of ultraviolet B rays, a simulation of exposing skin tissues to sunlight.
The cause has gained support from consumers and many cosmetics companies, but the biggest hurdle is China, which requires that cosmetics sold in its large, lucrative market undergo testing on animals.
California, Nevada and Illinois all saw new laws take effect this year that ban the sale or import of animal-tested cosmetics. The laws, which apply to tests performed after Jan. 1, aren’t expected to cause much disruption for the industry because many companies already use non-animal testing. Instead, they draw a line in the sand that puts pressure on the U.S. government to pass a nationwide ban and help end China’s requirement that most cosmetics sold in that nation of more than 1.4 billion people undergo testing on animals by Chinese regulators.
China’s policy applies to all imported cosmetics, including makeup, perfume and hair care products, along with some “special use” goods produced in China, such as hair dye, sunscreen and whitening products that make functional claims.
Animal-tested cosmetics already are banned in Europe, India and elsewhere. A ban in the United States, one of the world’s largest economies, would put further global pressure on China to end its policy and push Chinese cosmetics companies to rely on non-animal tests if they want to sell their products in the U.S.
“We’re not trying to create an island out here in Nevada,” said state Sen. Melanie Scheible, who sponsored Nevada’s law. “We are trying to join a group of other communities that have stood up and said, ‘We don’t support animal testing.’”
Animal-rights groups like Cruelty Free International and the Humane Society of the United States hope to get more states to pass bans this year. Legislation has been introduced or will soon be made public in Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia, according to Cruelty Free International, and a national ban has been introduced in Congress since 2014, though the bipartisan measure has been slow to advance. The most recent version introduced in November marks the first time the country’s leading cosmetics trade group, the Personal Care Products Council, has become a vocal backer of the ban, support that should ease lawmaker concerns about business opposition.
The California, Nevada and Illinois laws create exemptions for any cosmetics that were tested on animals to comply with regulations of a foreign government — an exception that acknowledges the reality that most companies will see their products tested on animals if they sell in China.
China is a “big complicating factor,” said Monica Engebretson, who leads public affairs for Cruelty Free International in North America. “That’s put companies that want to enter that Chinese market in a real bind.”
Scheible said her aim in Nevada was not to punish those multinational corporations but to raise awareness and put pressure on other governments, like China, to act. “A lot of people thought that we no longer tested on animals at all,” she said. “They thought that this was already a thing of the past.”
The bans in all three states require cosmetics sellers to use non-animal tests to prove their products are safe. Many international companies are already doing that after the European Union passed a series of similar bans on animal testing, culminating with a 2013 ban on the sale of animal-tested products.
Supporters note that science has advanced, allowing companies in most cases to use non-animal alternatives — such as human cell cultures or lab-grown human skin and eye tissue — to test whether a product or ingredient is safe.
For example, EpiDerm, a synthetic skin tissue made by Massachusetts-based MatTek Corp., is created from cells taken from skin donated during procedures such as breast reduction surgery, circumcision and tummy tuck procedures.
Products can be applied to synthetic tissue to determine whether they cause skin irritation, damage, sensitivity or other issues. That can be used in place of a testing a product on the back of a shaved rabbit, animal rights supporters say.
Some of the biggest names in personal care and beauty, including Avon, Unilever and Procter & Gamble, have used MatTek’s tissues for testing. Carl Westmoreland, a safety scientist with Unilever, said the European Union ban drove more innovation in non-animal testing. Companies like Unilever, trade groups and advocates are among those working with Chinese regulators and scientists to push for new rules, helping to familiarize them with procedures and results from non-animal tests.
“They have been changing and are continuing to change,” he said, noting China in recent years has allowed some cosmetics produced within the country to avoid animal testing. Francine Lamoriello, executive vice president for global strategies at the Personal Care Products Council said it’s a slow process, but Chinese regulators are working to accept non-animal tests.
“They’re having conferences. They really seem to be quite motivated to do as best as they can to accept and validate certain methods,” she said. The Personal Care Products Council supports most of the state legislation but is pushing for a nationwide law instead of a patchwork of rules across the country.
Similar to the state laws, the proposed ban before Congress would exempt cosmetics required to undergo testing in China. It would allow those products to be sold in the U.S. as long as sellers relied on additional, non-animal tests to show they are safe.
California was first to pass the legislation in 2018, a move that’s part of the state’s pattern of wielding its status as the world’s fifth-largest economy to push change. “That’s the beauty of doing things in California,” said Judie Mancuso with the group Social Compassion in Legislation who pressed for that state’s ban. “You set the stage, you set the standard, and others grab it and grow.”
Associated Press researcher Shanshan Wang in Beijing contributed to this report.
CNAP ClipBoard: Another compelling reason to stop raising pigs and eating them. Although reportedly humans cannot contract AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, it is my position that “they can’t until they can”.
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Bettie the beagle, a detector dog for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, picked up the scent of pork on a woman arriving from China at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Soon the dog’s handler discovered and confiscated a ham sandwich in the purse of a passenger who had flown on a China Eastern Airlines flight from Shanghai.
The danger? That the food might be contaminated with African swine fever and spread the disease to the United States. China has lost millions of pigs in outbreaks of the disease, pushing its pork prices to record highs, forcing purchases of costly imports and roiling global meat markets.
“It’s very likely it may come here if we aren’t more vigilant,” said Jessica Anderson, the handler for the pork-sniffing dog and an agricultural specialist for the border protection agency.
Bettie is among an expanded team of specially trained beagles at U.S. airports, part of a larger effort to protect the nation’s $23 billion pork industry from a disease that has decimated China’s hog herd, the world’s largest. Governments worldwide are scrambling to shore up their defenses as the disease spills over China’s borders, according to Reuters reporting from nine countries. The efforts underscore the grave threat to global agriculture.
African swine fever has spread to Southeast Asia and eastern Europe, with cases found in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines, Poland, Belgium and Bulgaria. Around the globe, those countries and others that have so far sidestepped the epidemic are cracking down on travelers, increasing cargo screenings and banning meat imports.
Pork-producing countries stand to lose billions of dollars if the disease infects their industries because outbreaks devastate farms and shut export markets. African swine fever does not threaten humans but there’s no vaccine or cure for infected pigs.
If the disease enters the United States, the top pork-exporting nation with 77.3 million hogs, the government would struggle to protect the industry, participants in a four-day drill in September told Reuters.
“If this gets in, it will destroy our industry as we know it,” said Dave Pyburn, the National Pork Board’s senior vice president of science and technology.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) simulated an outbreak in Mississippi that spread to the nation’s top pig-producing states, including North Carolina, Iowa and Minnesota. Veterinarians, farmers and government officials gathered at command centers where they tested their capacity to swiftly detect, control and clean up after an outbreak.
The experience showed the U.S. needs to increase its capacity to quickly test pigs for the disease and to dispose of the animals without spreading it, said Pyburn, who participated in the drill.
In China, the top global pork consumer, the disease has been devastating. The exact number of hog deaths is not known. Rabobank estimated the country lost up to 55% of its pig herd last year. But the Chinese government has reported smaller losses in the country’s $1 trillion hog sector since the first case in August 2018.
The U.S. government is fielding dogs at airports and seaports, conducting outbreak-response drills and adding capacity to test pigs. France and Germany are killing hundreds of thousands of wild boar that might carry the disease. France also erected 132 kilometers (82 miles) of fencing to keep out wild boar and is planning stricter sanitary rules for pig farming, including requirements to disinfect trucks that transport swine.
Thailand culled pigs in a province close to Myanmar, where the disease has been found. South Korea ordered soldiers on its border with North Korea to capture wild boar, while Vietnam used troops to ensure infected pigs were culled.
Australia expelled travelers from Vietnam for smuggling pork and banned imports of pork products. Australia also deployed advisors to Pacific islands in an attempt to protect its closest neighbors from African swine fever. If such efforts fail, it could cost the country more than 2 billion Australian dollars ($1.4 billion) over five years, according to Australian Pork Limited, an industry group.
“It is certainly the biggest threat to commercial raising that we have ever seen, and arguably the biggest threat to any commercial livestock species we’ve seen,” said Mark Schipp, Australia’s chief veterinary officer.
U.S. officials plan to suspend domestic shipments of pigs among farms and to slaughterhouses if African swine fever is detected. The USDA and states could issue orders halting the movement of livestock in certain areas as a way to contain the disease.
The USDA said in a statement to Reuters that the September drill highlighted shortcomings in its guidance to states detailing when and how to limit the movement of pigs. The government is also increasing the number of laboratories it uses to test for African swine fever.
“We have identified some gaps,” said Amanda Luitjens, who took part in the drill and is animal welfare auditor for Minnesota-based pork producer Christensen Farms. “The thought of it making it to the United States is scary.”
BANS ON GARBAGE FEEDING
Travelers transporting meat represent the biggest risk for African swine fever to spread to the United States because the disease can live for weeks in pork products, Pyburn said.
Contaminated food can be fed to feral pigs or livestock in a practice known as garbage feeding, which the USDA says has caused outbreaks of swine diseases around the world. U.S. farmers are supposed to obtain a license to feed pigs with food waste that contains meat and cook it to kill disease organisms.
African swine fever can also spread from pig to pig, from bites by infectious ticks and through objects such as trucks, clothing and shoes that have come into contact with the virus.
China banned the transportation of live pigs from infected provinces and neighboring regions in an unsuccessful bid to contain its outbreaks. It also culled pigs and outlawed the use of kitchen waste for swine feed.
The disease has been detected in food products seized at airports in South Korea, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and northern Ireland.
African swine fever is thought to have arrived in the Philippines through contaminated pork smuggled from China. The Philippines is now conducting mandatory checks on carry-on luggage of passengers from countries with outbreaks.
The government of the province of Cebu in central Philippines banned imported products and those from the main Philippine island of Luzon to avoid swine fever. More than 60,000 pigs have died or been culled in Luzon because of the disease. The Philippines Department of Agriculture also banned garbage feeding that included leftover food from airports, airlines and seaports.
In the United States, low inspection rates at ports of entry increase the likelihood for illegal pork to enter the country undetected, the USDA said in a report assessing the risk from African swine fever. The agency works with Customs and Border Protection to alert all U.S. ports each time a new country is confirmed to have the disease, requesting increased scrutiny on travelers and shipments.
But Customs and Border Protection estimates it needs 3,148 people to specialize in agricultural inspections at entry points like airports and only has about 2,500.
The U.S. Senate last year authorized the annual hiring of 240 agricultural specialists a year until the workforce shortage is filled, and the training and assignment of 20 new canine teams a year. The government approved 60 new beagle teams to work at airports and seaports last year, for a total of 179 teams, according to USDA.
Those teams face a daunting challenge, said Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat who introduced the legislation with other lawmakers.
“Every day, millions of passengers and tens of thousands of shipping containers carrying food products cross our nation’s borders,” he said, “any one of which could do significant damage to America’s food supply and agricultural industries.”
(Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila, Colin Packham and John Mair in Sydney, Nigel Hunt in London, Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Caroline Stauffer and Brian Thevenot)
African swine fever in other countries
African swine fever is very contagious and is killing pigs and wild boars in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe.
African swine fever has never been detected in Canada, but it’s present in:
The bus wars are over and electricity has won — thanks to a big boost from China.
In fact, when it comes to electric bus purchases, China is outpacing the United States by an astounding 421,000 to 300 as of the end of 2018.
Thanks to China’s massive investment in and support for electric buses, electrics are now racing past a 50% share of new bus sales worldwide, according to a recent analysis by Bloomberg NEF (BNEF).
For decades, cities and countries have been trying to replace dirty diesel buses, which not only emit staggering amounts of urban air pollution and greenhouse gases, but they also routinely break down and need major repairs.
Cities around the world have tried buses running on a variety of cleaner alternatives to diesel, including natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, and electricity. But in recent years, it has become overwhelmingly clear that nothing can compete with electricity for the highest efficiency and performance along with lowest emissions and lifetime cost, including fuel and maintenance.
“Everything that has an urban drive cycle will ultimately be an electric vehicle,” Ryan Popple, the president and CEO of Proterra, the leading U.S. electric bus company, explained to ThinkProgress back in 2016.
But electric buses aren’t just winning because they have no tailpipe emissions. They are also so efficient they have one-fourth the per-mile fueling cost of regular diesel buses and the other alternatives — even running on renewable power, thanks to the rapid price drops of solar and wind power.
In addition, electric buses have considerably lower maintenance costs, as many studies have shown. So over the 10- to 12-year lifetime of a typical urban transport bus, an electric bus can save $400,000 in total operational costs compared to a typical diesel.
Back in 2016, a new electric bus only cost some $300,000 more than a diesel, so total lifetime savings could be as much as $100,000. But battery prices have been dropping so rapidly that the differential in upfront cost is now closer to $200,000.
Plummeting battery prices to make electric cars cheaper than gas cars in 3 years
The net lifetime savings from electric buses is thus growing rapidly. In China, subsidies and stringent pollution regulations have pushed more and more cities to switch over to electrics entirely. Shenzen, the first Chinese city to switch to all electric buses, finished the transition in 2017 with the help of China’s $150,000-a-bus subsidy and a city-wide effort to accelerate the process. Today, the megacity of 13 million people has 16,000 electric buses.
Now Beijing is requiring major cities to establish deadlines to replace all diesel buses with electric ones. The UK Guardian reported in December that “more than 30 Chinese cities have made plans to achieve 100% electrified public transit by 2020,” including such megacities as Guangzhou, Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Shandong.How remarkable is China’s rapid adoption of electric buses? Electric vehicles (EVs) of every kind will displace a total of 350,000 barrels of gasoline and diesel this year, BNEF projects. Three-fourths of that displaced fuel will be from electric buses, 99% of which are in China…
China needs advanced robotics to help balance its economic, social, and technological ambitions with continued growth.
The government’s plan will be crucial to a broader effort to reform China’s economy while also meeting the ambitious production goals laid out in its latest economic blueprint, which aims to double per capita income by 2020 from 2016 levels with at least 6.5 percent annual growth. The success of this effort could, in turn, affect the vitality of the global economy.