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China’s meat supply chain is the problem

There is a growing global concern around China’s “wet markets.” Last week, Dr. Fauci was on the record saying that they need to be shut down immediately and that it boggles his mind that we continue to allow something which very clearly results in zoonotic viral infections. This is as China begins to slowly reopen its economy — including its wet markets.

The more precise problem is China’s meat supply chain. Last month, Bain & Company published a brief arguing that this current pandemic — it was still just an outbreak at the time of publication — highlights the need for China to shift away from open-air markets toward the cold-chain model that is common in North America and Europe.

Here is one of their charts comparing China and Europe:

There are both upstream and downstream problems. The downstream problem is its “wet markets.” Chinese consumers apparently prefer “hot and fresh,” as opposed to chilled and frozen meat. But there are going to need to be changes, including stricter safety regulations and widespread food-tracing so that epidemics can be quickly identified and quashed. Now is the time for these changes.

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