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US Olympians Voice Concerns About Chinese Food


Opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics are on August 8. President Bush plans to attend. This week he invited team members to the White House, and hosted a formal dinner for them. Some of the U.S. athletes are concerned about what they'll be eating in China. VOA'S Paul Sisco has a report on what the Chinese are doing to respond to those concerns.

Chinese officials, to improve air quality ahead of the Olympics, have launched an odd even scheme restricting traffic -- and reducing air pollution -- in and around Beijing. When the Olympic sailing venue became swamped with algae, the army was called in to clean it up.

Now, another problem. Some U.S. team members have concerns about the food.

"I'm definitely concerned about any form of contaminated meat or anything like that," said Jesse Smith of the U.S. water polo team.

Antibiotics and growth stimulants are commonly used to produce Chinese food but food production has not been well regulated.

Swimmer Tony Azevedo is passing on the local cuisine.

"If there is a possibility of us getting tested positive for something through eating, I'm not going to take that chance," he said.

Some Olympic teams are planning to bring their own food.

At the same time, the Chinese are strictly monitoring food production for the athletes.

At the Olympic pork producing facility, pigs are tagged and tracked from the time they leave the farm. Manager Li Wen Xiang says Chinese products are safe.

At a farm north of Beijing, 65 tons of organic fruits and vegetables are being grown under tight security. The manager says a computerized tracking system insures the produce is drug free from the farm to the Olympic athlete.

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