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Director-General of FAO Expresses Worry About Food Safety and Pollution in China

Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, is applauding China’s efforts to improve food safety, but is concerned about human health issues stemming from soil contamination, according to an interview published by Xinhua, official state Chinese media.

“We have seen a lot of improvements in China but there is much more to be done,” said Graziano da Silva. “We’re concerned about pollution in general,” he said, noting that food safety does not only require less use of fertilizers but also better management of water resources, Xinhua reported.

Last month, three rice mills in Hunan Province were investigated by Chinese authorities after it was discovered the products contained excessive levels of cadmium, a pollutant that is a carcinogen.

Xinhua reported that a widespread inspection of rice products found that more than 44 percent of the rice in Guangzhou also contained excessive amounts of cadmium.

“Although the source of the pollutants has not yet been found, heavy metal contained in fertilizers has contaminated irrigation water and arable land,” the paper reported.

“Soil contamination and food safety problems are inevitable and are bound to occur in high-growth countries,” said Merritt Cluff, an FAO economist. “China is unique in the respect that land and water scarcity make difficult combinations. Some other countries may have experienced a similar period, but they did not have such high growth pressure.”

Gaziano da Silva recommended that the Chinese government strictly control the use of pesticides and fertilizers, according to Xinhua. “There is also the issue of consumers rejecting food products that are not up to standard,” he added.

© Food Safety News
  • Oginikwe

    Jose Graziano da Silva should address these same issues in the U. S.

  • Barb3000

    I boycott Chinese food, I check all labels to make sure its not from that country. I also don’t buy any food from India after I found out about their toilet habits. The bad part about all of this is that a lot of people in the US don’t read labels and just buy whatever is cheapest, especially in the dollar stores.

  • DiscusBS

    The U.S.A. should address the contaminants they knowingly allow in food products as well. USDA allows far too many pathogens in poultry and the FDA ignores all of the evidence for heavy metal contamination by simply not looking at or addressing the known problem areas.