Project description

Through personal experience, our journalists in China had been seeking safe and healthy food in China after years of scandals over tainted products, poisoned soil and lax hygiene in processing. Reporters and editors from different beats compared notes about their professional experiences covering the nation’s government and agriculture industries. Premier Li Keqiang had told the National People’s Congress in 2016 that the government would tackle the problem. So we started to dig through the data to see what progress, if any, was being made. The research soon began to show some dramatic and disturbing predictions that affected the whole global food supply as well as data that indicated a number of long-held beliefs about China’s food supply and policy were, in practice, no longer true.. We decided to investigate what the government and industry were really doing to ensure a stable and safe food supply across the entire spectrum, from cleaning pollution at home, to the growth of multinational Chinese food companies buying assets around the world.

What makes this project innovative?

To tell the global story, Bloomberg News mobilized one of the largest teams of reporters, editors, data analysts, photographers, graphic designers and TV personnel. More than 40 journalists were involved on five continents, coordinated by senior editors in Hong Kong and Singapore. To bring such a broad-ranging, data-driven story to life we employed a wide variety of visual techniques, from the opening time-lapse sequence of consumers and traders at the Zhenbai Agricultural Produce Market in Shanghai, to drone footage of farms in China, engaging photography, TV interviews and powerful graphics that distilled the core of the vast amounts of data.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The story gained one of the highest levels of reader engagement for a series of stories published in Asia. Stories and graphics in the package were cited or republished by more than 100 newspapers, websites and investment and agriculture blogs, from the Financial Times's Alphaville, to Monsanto Co., to the Organic Consumers Association and global coalition Farming First. The package was also translated into Chinese.

Source and methodology

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The Heritage Foundation,, The World Bank Group, United States Department of Agriculture, data compiled by Bloomberg

Technologies Used

JavaScript, ai2html

Project members

Yue Qiu, Adam Majendie, Mike Tighe, Shuping Niu, Emma O'Brien, Lulu Yilun Chen, Borges Nhamire, Christina Larson


Additional links


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