Disposable chopsticks widely used by fast-food retailers used to be viewed as clean and convenient. But Professor Pang Jufeng, member of China People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), concurrently vice-president of Shaanxi Province Intellectual Association, proposed banning the production of such chopsticks.
"The proposal," said the professor when interviewed by China Internet Information Center, "comes from my experience and observation, and the public's outcry. 1. Not sanitary. Many small restaurants have kept the chopsticks in a jar unwashed probably for years. There's no guarantee for health if the chopsticks are contaminated before use. Some are used more than once; 2.Umproperly discarded chopsticks after use, some may carry contaminable disease, contaminate environment; 3.To lower the cost, manufacturers often make chopsticks in a rough way, their unpolished surface often cuts, 4.Throwaway chopsticks are ecologically expensive. Huge amount of trees are laid down for the production of the throwaway chopsticks. "It takes 10 years for a tree to grow up, as the old saying goes," Professor Pang continued. "But we are eating away our forests, what a waste!"
"After the banning," Prof. Pang maintained, "proper sterilization will be crucial for multi-use chopsticks. Failure in doing this will doubtlessly spread diseases. Tough inspection by supervising departments shall be frequent. Business failed to meet sanitary standards shall be closed temporarily or even permanently. Regular training for workers in food business should be enforced."
About some restaurants charging sterilization fee, Prof. Pang said, "So far there is no law to regulate market behaviors like this, the food sanitary regulations should be revised to cover sterilization of chopsticks. When most of the food businesses go by law and adopt a good habit, the ban of disposable chopsticks will be good to the country and people as well."
(CIIC by Yang Ling 03/07/2001)