China Allows Increased Media Coverage of Food Safety Issues

Following the government’s decision to loosen the reins on food safety reporting, a spate of reports on unsafe food have appeared in the Chinese media. For example, from People’s Daily:

A local resident, surnamed An, bought some Sichuan peppers from a market in Chaoyang district that turned the water red when she washed them.

Following up on such reports, the district’s industry and commerce authority inspected the market on April 28. An official said they cannot determine the dye and advised residents not to buy the peppers. They have sent samples for tests and will announce the results.

Local government are also cracking down on food safety violations, according to People’s Daily:

Governments in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai and the provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong have incorporated the local situation into the evaluation of officials’ work, according to a statement released on Saturday by the office of the commission under the State Council.

“The attention and tightened supervision from local governments is a good sign. It will help control and prevent food safety problems in the country,” said FanZhihong, a nutrition and food safety professor at China Agricultural University.

Much of the blame for banned additives being found recently in pigs was put at the feet of the watchdogs and supervisors for failing in their duty.

“However, the food safety problems should not only be blamed on the supervision from local officials,” said Li Shuguang, a professor with the department of nutrition and food hygiene at the School of Public Health, FudanUniversity.

Li said that the origin of food safety problems should be discovered and solved before the supervision process.

Meanwhile, a report from AP says that overuse of a chemical has resulted in a rash of exploding watermelons:

An investigative report by China Central Television airing Tuesday found farms in Jiangsu province were losing acres of fruit to the problem.

It said farmers sprayed too much growth promoter, hoping they could get fruit to market ahead of season and make more money.


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