Archive for ‘Food safety’


China food scandal spreads, drags in Starbucks, Burger King and McNuggets in Japan | Reuters

The latest food scandal in China is spreading fast, dragging in U.S. coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King Worldwide Inc and others, as well as McDonald’s products as far away as Japan.

The logo of a Starbucks coffee shop is seen in New York June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

McDonald’s Corp and KFC’s parent Yum Brands Inc apologized to Chinese customers on Monday after it emerged that Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, a unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC, had supplied expired meat to the two chains.

On Tuesday, Starbucks said some of its cafes previously sold products containing chicken originally sourced from Shanghai Husi, a firm that was shut down on Sunday by local regulators after a TV report showed staff using expired meat and picking up meat from the floor to add to the mix.

A Tokyo-based spokesman at McDonald’s Holdings Co (Japan) Ltd said the company had sourced about a fifth of its Chicken McNuggets from Shanghai Husi and had halted sales of the product on Monday. Alternative supplies of chicken have been found in Thailand and China, he added. The company’s shares briefly fell as much as 1.4 percent to a 15-month low before closing down 0.4 percent.

China’s food watchdog said it ordered regional offices to carry out spot checks on all firms which had used Shanghai Husi products, and would inspect all of parent OSI’s sites around China to see if enough has been done to ensure food safety. It said the case could be handed over to the police.

The regulator’s Shanghai branch said in a statement on Tuesday it had demanded production, quality control and sales records from OSI. It added it already ordered McDonald’s to seal over 4,500 boxes of suspected meat products and Yum’s Pizza Hut to seal over 500 boxes of beef.

Fast-food chain Burger King and Dicos, China’s third-ranked fast food chain owned by Ting Hsin International, said they would remove Shanghai Husi food products from their outlets. Pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc said on its Weibo blog that it had taken down all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi and cut ties with the supplier.

via China food scandal spreads, drags in Starbucks, Burger King and McNuggets in Japan | Reuters.


Exposure via internet now China’s top weapon in war on graft

SCMP: “The internet has become the primary tool for exposing corruption on the mainland, “removing a corrupt official with the click of a mouse”, according to a leading think tank’s analysis.


In its Blue Book of New Media, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said that 156 corruption cases between 2010 and last year were first brought to light online – compared with 78 cases to resulting from reports in traditional media.

Forty-four cases involving disciplinary violations were first exposed in some form online, while 29 cases followed print and broadcast stories. Sixteen cases citing abuses of power were exposed online; 10 were revealed in traditional media.

Among the latest officials to fall from grace thanks to online revelations was Liu Tienan , a former deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Liu was sacked in mid-May, more than five months after an editor of the influential Caijing magazine used his microblog account to expose allegations against him.

The report said revelations online, and the rise in interest in public affairs the internet had engendered, were the main reasons more people were participating in anti-corruption efforts.

However, the report cautioned that such efforts still had a long way to go. Only five officials of above departmental rank were brought down via online exposures last year – just a fraction of the 950 officials of that level who were probed for crimes.

The mainland had 564 million internet users at the end of last year, including 309 million microbloggers, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. The Blue Book said the online community would likely exceed 600 million this year.

The new-media boom has posed an unprecedented challenge to Communist Party rulers, experts warned, due to the easy spread of information, including rumours. The report blamed the online rumour mill on governments’ declining credibility and growing concern on the part of the public.”

via Exposure via internet now China’s top weapon in war on graft | South China Morning Post.

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* Guangzhou rice scare shows open government remains elusive

SCMP: “Cover-up of cadmium scandal reveals authorities’ reluctance to comply with 2007 rule on non-classified information


Guangzhou rice scare shows open government remains elusive

Many Guangzhou residents have been worried and angry for more than a week after being told that nearly half the rice they buy from local markets may contain excessive levels of cadmium, a carcinogenic heavy metal.

The city’s Food and Drug Administration said on May 16 that it had checked 18 batches of rice between January and March and had found cadmium levels in eight of them exceeded the national food safety standard.

But it declined to disclose any information about the tainted rice, such as where it was produced and by which brands. The food-safety watchdog said it was “inconvenient” to share the information with the public but did not explain why.

The cover-up sparked a national outcry. Even some state-owned media criticised the regulator, saying the refusal to disclose the information was a crime.

After coming under a great deal of pressure, the watchdog disclosed the names of the rice producers last Saturday, but still refused to detail the amount of tainted rice sold.

The Guangzhou case is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg in showing how reluctant mainland officials are to allow open access to government data.

The Regulations on Open Government Information, introduced by Beijing in 2007, say all levels of local government should make their non-classified information public.

The regulations set clear standards for the format authorities should follow when publishing and organising the data on their websites, because of concerns that members of the public would otherwise be unable to find the information they were looking for.

But six years later, mainland officials remain reluctant to publicise such information.”

via Guangzhou rice scare shows open government remains elusive | South China Morning Post.


* China arrests hundreds over fake or tainted meat

BBC: “More than 900 people have been arrested in China for selling fake or tainted meat in the last three months, state media say.

File photo: Meat at a market in China

Officials say they uncovered almost 400 such cases and seized more than 20,000 tonnes of fake meat.

In one case, the suspects made fake mutton from foxes, mink and rats after adding chemicals, state media said.

The report is the latest in a series of cases highlighting food safety issues in China.

In the latest case, examples of wrongdoing included suspects using a hydrogen peroxide solution to process chicken claws or injecting water into meat to increase its weight.

State news agency Xinhua reported the arrests as a part of a national crackdown that will now focus on dairy products.

It also quoted an official as saying that China had “deep-seated food safety problems” that needed to be resolved.

Food safety remains an issue of huge concern for the Chinese public, reports the BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing.

Last year there were reports that some suppliers to pharmaceutical firms used so-called gutter oil – reprocessed kitchen waste dredged from restaurant drains – to make antibiotics.

Previous cases also involved the use of gutter oil as cooking oil or in food production.

Public concerns also remains over milk products, after a high-profile scandal involving the use of melamine in baby milk formula.”

via BBC News – China arrests hundreds over fake or tainted meat.


Just shows, there is no satisfying people, no matter what you do for them!


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China Daily Mail

Despite more than 90% of Chinese feeling that they enjoy a higher standard of living than their parents, concerns over corruption, social inequality and food safety are growing, according to a Pew Global Attitudes Survey.

Most presidents and prime ministers would love to have the kind of GDP growthChina‘s incoming leader Xi Jinping will inherit. The fact that forecasters now predict China’s growth may “slow” to below 8% next year will probably elicit little sympathy from Greece‘s Antonis Samaras or Spain’sMariano Rajoy.

But by recent Chinese standards growth figures like this are a disappointment. A slowdown is particularly troubling for Xi because, as China prepares for its once-in-a-decade leadership transition, a Pew Global Attitudes survey conducted there this year finds that its citizens are also increasingly worried about a variety of other domestic issues, especially corruption, inequality and consumer protection.

In many ways, these rising…

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* The consuming challenge of food safety

Once again we see China’s central government trying to do the right thing, but thwarted by both selfish interests of unethical and unscrupulous business people, often with local authorities turning a blind eye to malpractices as any remedial action may reduce local economic gains.

China Daily: “Report shows eating healthily is a major concern for Chinese people

Food safety is a top concern for Chinese shoppers, especially regarding such produce as vegetables, meat, seafood, grain, cooking oils and dairy goods, according to a report from Ipsos.

The consuming challenge of food safety

It shows Chinese people are very concerned about the quality of what they eat, especially those who are older (aged 31 to 50) and those who earn a higher monthly salary (12,000 yuan a year and above – more than $1,900).

Most people are highly aware of various channels through which they can obtain information on food safety, especially with incidents regarding clenbuterol in meat (showing awareness rates as high as 94 percent), melamine in baby milk formulas (92 percent), swill-cooked “gutter” oil (85 percent) and tainted steamed buns (80 percent).

Food experts

Public concern about food safety results in food experts and third-party institutes being listened to in greater numbers and in more detail.

As a result, the Ipsos report shows that shoppers’ trust in experts and authorities has reached 83 percent. A total of 89 percent of the respondents have shown an interest in participating in science activities organized by such experts.

However, people do not always form an accurate picture. When there is negative news about one brand, trust in all brands in that or similar sectors tends to be affected. As many as 70 percent of the respondents said they would doubt not only the brand in question but also similar brands when news of a safety issue emerges.

“Food safety incidents that have occurred in China attracted a lot of attention but the general public still has a very limited knowledge base on the issue. In the United States and European countries, there have been fully fledged food manufacturing practice and response measures toward safety issues,” said Jennifer Tsai, managing director of Innovation and Forecasting at Ipsos Marketing in Greater China.

“Therefore, the consumers in those countries are less likely to become over-panicked and form serious doubts about all brands.”

Tsai added that an independent third-party body should be set up to provide information about manufacturers’ processes in raw material selection, production and distribution. The government should also have a role to play in this. However, this might require several years and the public still needs to learn more about food safety.”

via The consuming challenge of food safety |Economy |


* China probes ‘gutter oil in medicine’ claims

BBC News: “Chinese officials have told pharmaceutical firms to check their suppliers after claims that some have used “gutter oil” to make antibiotics, state-run media report.

File photo: Police inspecting illegal cooking oil seized in 2010

Officials are looking into firms that reportedly use the cheaper gutter oil rather than the more expensive soy bean oil in the production process.

Gutter oil is reprocessed kitchen waste dredged from restaurant drains.

It has been part of a series of recent food safety scandals in China.

The government said it would release its findings soon, without giving further details.

It is not clear whether these antibiotics pose a risk to public health, but the incident highlights how some firms cut corners to pursue profits, says the BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing.

Scandals over contaminated food – most recently gutter oil – have caused considerable public alarm in China in recent years.

In April, state-run media reported on how officials cracked down on underground workshops that used decomposing animal fat and organs to produce gutter oil.

Police said that most of the oil was sold to oil manufacturers for food production and making hotpot soup in restaurants.

In September last year, police arrested 32 people in an operation to prevent the sale of gutter oil as cooking oil.”

via BBC News – China probes ‘gutter oil in medicine’ claims.

There seem to be no limits to the unethical behaviour of some Chinese business people. Central government is trying to do its best, in pharmaceuticals,and  food production, but the miscreants carry on.


This post supports my view that the Chinese authorities are trying very hard to listen to the people.

China Daily Mail

Foreign agencies report from Beijing, and SCMP says in its report entitled “Listen to protesters, authorities told” that after weekend riots, China’s “top Communist Party mouthpiece yesterday urged authorities to listen to people’s concerns about pollution, after fears over a new industrial waste water pipeline sparked weekend riots.

“‘The public’s awareness of environmental issues and their rights is increasing at a rapid pace,’ said a signed commentary in People’s Daily.”

China “should strive to ‘establish an open and transparent decision-making mechanism, and build a tolerant environment for public opinion’, it said.

“Authorities in Qidong, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, agreed on Saturday to cancel plans to build the pipeline after thousands of local people took to the streets, overturning cars and ransacking government offices.

“They were concerned that the pipeline, from a Japanese-owned paper factory, Oji Paper, would pollute a nearby fishing port.


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* China vows to improve food safety in 3 years

China Daily: “The State Council on Tuesday announced a decision to markedly improve food safety, aiming to effectively solve prominent problems in three years.

According to a State Council statement posted online, the government also aims to establish a better regulation mechanism, legal and standard system as well as technical support for food safety and improve the overall food safety management level of the food industry in around five years.

Food safety will become a measure of local governments’ performance in their annual assessment for the first time, the statement said.

A database of food safety records of food companies will be established and those on the black list will be disclosed and punished, it said.

Authorities must prevent expired food products from returning to the market, while consumers will be rewarded in cash for reporting illegal acts.

The Chinese public has become increasingly concerned over food safety after a slew of scares — from melamine-tainted baby formula products to pork contaminated with clenbuterol — exposed the vulnerability of the country’s food sector.

Authorities detected 15,000 cases of substandard food and shut down 5,700 unlicensed businesses during their inspections on food businesses across the country since the beginning of 2012, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce said last month.

Dairy products, edible oils, seasonal foods and alcoholic beverages were among the major food categories targeted during the inspections.”

via China vows to improve food safety in 3 years |Society |

See also: Social tensions and human rights issues, incl food safety

This follows on from the defeat of the Chinese volleyball team due to having to subsist on vegetarian dishes due to concerns about tainted meat:


* Chinese State Council improves food safety

China Daily: “The State Council laid out measures to improve food safety on Wednesday, including tighter supervision and harsher punishment for violators.

“It is an onerous task for the government to ensure food safety,” as China’s food industry is still suffering from nonstandard management and many hidden safety risks, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

Police officers examine decayed beans at an illegal food processing plant in Cangshan county, East China’s Shandong province, on June 1. The plant has been shut down. Initial investigation found its products, fried beans and peanuts, were mainly sold to rural market. [Zhu Wutao / For China Daily]

The government should enhance supervision by setting up an efficient mechanism that covers all links in the food industry and a rigid food recall system for destroying defective products, the statement said.

The State Council has vowed a “vigous crackdown” on those who endanger food safety.

Meanwhile, policies, laws and regulations should be revised to increase costs for violators, according to the statement.

The country will intensify a series of food safety supervisions, including strengthening enterprises’ accountability for their food products and streamlining current food quality testing standards .

The country will establish credit profiles for food enterprises, releasing quality information to the public in time, the statement said.

Also, the country will give prizes to people who expose substandard food products, it said.

China is facing increasing risks on food safety as some food enterprises have put too much emphasis on profits, negatively affecting sales, Pu Changcheng, deputy director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said at a news conference on Monday.”

via State Council improves food safety |Politics |

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