Eggs Recalled, Exports Halted as China’s Food Crisis Worsens

Following the discovery of melamine-tainted eggs in Hong Kong, authorities have imposed an export ban on Dalian-based Hanwei Group, and retailers voluntarily recalled eggs for sale. From AFP:

The problem emerged over the weekend when Hong Kong authorities said eggs from Hanwei were tainted with , the same chemical that was mixed into China’s milk products and led to the deaths of four babies.

Officials and China’s state-controlled press reported on Wednesday that eggs from other suppliers had also been found to be contaminated with melamine, which can give food the appearance of higher protein levels.

Against this backdrop, some supermarkets in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities announced they were recalling various brands of eggs, although others appeared unsure what to do with the central government yet to give directives.

The Hong Kong media has published a great deal of criticism of the tainted eggs issue. Below is one such example on Wen Wei Po, by commentator, Ji Xiaohua (紀曉華 ), who wrote a piece that has been reposted on many blogs in mainland China, excerpts translated by CDT:

The Da Lian Han Wei Co., Ltd deliberately kept secret the melamine contamination in the eggs exported to Hong Kong and Japan. It is ironic that Mr Han Wei, the Chairman, reiterated his concerns about the issue in CPPCC proposals at least ten times.

Mr Han was crowned the “King of Chinese Chicken” and many other glorious titles. He won three successive reelections to the CPPCC National Committee and served as the Chairman of the National Alliance of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce Departments. At the annual CPPCC meetings and National People’s Congress meetings, he passionately criticized the food safety problems and once expressed to the media his deep worries over the Sudan Red issue.

“People are the priority for the government. Food is the priority for people and food safety is the priority for everyone. Food safety is the fundamental issue our people care about, so we should all pay close attention to it.” “Food safety is no minor issue and we should treat it very carefully.” These are quotes from Mr. Han Wei at the CPPCC meetings, yet they sound so ironic after seeing his actions.

UPDATE: David Bandurski wrote Shanghai, Guangzhou media spearhead “bad egg” coverage in the China Media Project.

October 29, 2008, 10:04 AM
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