On her blog Superbug, Maryn McKenna writes: From Bird Flu to Big Farms: The Rise of China's Agriculture. Excerpt (but read the whole article):
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll understand immediately that the rise of China as an agricultural powerhouse — eager not only to feed its increasingly well-off populace, but to transform itself from an importer to an exporter — has all sorts of resonances.
Bird flu is far from the only problem. China uses antibiotics in agriculture in much the same manner the United States does — and has the same problems of antibiotic-resistant bacteria leaking from large-scale farms. (It also has attempted to control its farm-antibiotic use, but the jury is out as to whether it will succeed.)
It has notoriously poor food safety — and has provoked alarm in the US by obtaining a waiver from “country of origin” labeling for meat products. And as the superb food-policy writers Tom Philpott and Twilight Greenaway have written, China’s rising-economy appetite for more meat is fueling a boom in big hog farms in the Midwest, and boosting US soybean production (for animal feed) as well.