High School HeroesX is thrilled with the official launch of our Beijing Food Safety challenge. After researching issues ranging from traffic to trying to find balance to some of the problems created by the disproportionate number of elderly people versus young people in China, students from five Beijing high schools chose to start a year long challenge on Food Safety.
A 2012 chxk.com.cn poll of residents in 16 major Chinese cities found that 81.8% of residents rated food safety as their biggest safety concern. This is with proper cause, as there have been a plethora of major food safety incidents in China over the past decades. Just last year, Shanghai Husi Food Co. Ltd. was caught selling expired meat to major multi-national organizations such as McDonalds and KFC according to Reuters. 2013 saw a scandal in Shanghai where cat meat was sold as rabbit meat according to the Telegraph, and the Shanghai list reported that 15,000 dead pigs float down the Huangpu river after a crackdown on illegal pork vending practices.
The design of this challenge does an excellent job in showing how students can work around traditional barriers affecting youth to none the less make a large impact. Instead of, for example, creating new testing machinery for industry to use, this challenge aims to work on the prevention aspect of bad food by making people more aware. Despite myriad of news articles about not buying street food, people still do it. Therefore, the team that wins the challenge will be the one whose design reduces the number of interactions between people and contaminated food consistently over X amount of time. To measure this, students will track purchases by students from street vendors outside their schools over a control period, and then again once they begin their prevention campaigns.