The Mishaps of Farmer Mou: Food Safety for Kids

Telling children about the horrors of China‘s food safety system isn’t an easy task–there’s phosphorescent pork, soy sauce made from human hair, 40-year-old meat–not exactly kid-friendly topics. Despite these odds, Claire and I brilliantly decided that the perfect product to make about this subject would be a children’s book, entitled The Mishaps of Farmer Mou. Surprisingly, we actually managed to write a story that “informs and entertains the audience” about the current issue that is China’s food system.

The story Claire and I wrote is about a farmer who wants his pigs to grow big and strong, so he decides to feed them clenbuterol, not knowing the risks the chemical would bring. The farmer never wore protective clothing when using it and washed everything he used to hold the chemical in a river, also not aware that the nearby village used that river for drinking and washing clothes in, causing them and himself to get sick. Based on a real-life situation in which a man was sentenced for producing and dealing clenbuterol after hundreds of people got sick from eating pork tainted with the chemical, and an experience that guest speaker Yan Shi recounted, where she visited a village and noticed a farmer similar to the one in our story washing things that had been contaminated with chemicals in a river that many people used, we “provided significant facts…and examples that fully develop and explain the topic”. By doing so, we could educate children about China’s food safety while also teaching them other morals that Farmer Mou learns in the end, and hopefully, entertain them using “a tone (register) appropriate for…” children combined with illustrations and a child-friendly story.

Burkitt, Laurie. “China Arrests Thousands in Food Safety Crackdown.” Wall Street Journal. 4 August 2011. ProQuest. Web. 20 November 2015

Shi, Yan. Personal interview. 24 November 2015.