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With Shenzhen reeling from its first bird flu death of the winter, it’s probably a good time to avoid the poultry markets here (easier said than done – given that you can meet a live chicken in almost any of the local supermarkets in my neighborhood).

Bird Flu isn’t a big deal yet given that it hasn’t developed an efficient human to human transmission vector, but it may be just a matter of time. As the strain has a 60% mortality rate (that’s six in every ten people who catch it who will die), and Shenzhen is one of the most densely populated cities on earth it’s better not to take any risks.

I love chicken satay - but it's hard to find in Shenzhen and for the moment it might be best avoided (the satay in the picture is from Thailand and thus poses no risk to the reader's health)

In other chirpy food related news the authorities have issued a warning to three of the city’s peanut oil and peanut packagers. Cancerous mildew has contaminated the current stock and may have entered the food chain.

In fairness given the absolute disregard of many Chinese firms towards health and safety, the prominence of recycled drain waste oil (yes, that’s right it’s estimated that 3 in 10 meals consumed here are cooked in oil that has literally been scooped out of drains and then processed back into cooking oil) in the food chain, contaminants in milk, etc. it’s probably not worth getting wound up about. The air pollution’s probably far worse for you than peanuts, but don’t say you haven’t been warned.

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