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A Food Safety ‘Belt and Suspenders’ System May be Emerging in China

Government plans to strengthen laws, combined with dramatic increases in private spending, especially by Western companies, may signal the emergence of a “belt and suspenders” approach to finally making food safety a reality for China’s 1 million food producers.

Walmart, which is No. 9 among China’s top retailers, will triple its food safety spending after being caught in a January fraud by a Chinese supplier, who apparently substituted fox meat for the “Five Spice” donkey meat consumers wanted to purchase.

Because of the fox meat sting, Walmart has doubled the DNA testing it does on meat sourced in China. China arrested 900 people last year for food fraud involving substituting fox, mink, and rat for some more desirable meats.

Walmart, however, has not been alone among Western companies that have dramatically increased food safety spending after their consumers became queasy over an in-country problem.

Yum! Brands publicly apologized for its “shortcomings” after a consumer scare over the chicken suppliers for its KFC restaurants. Both KFC and McDonald’s in China had to scramble over TV reports that their chicken suppliers were selling birds with excess amounts of growth-spurring antiviral drugs and hormones.

With 5,100 restaurants, Yum! generates more than half its revenue from China. The company has changed chicken suppliers and stepped up its own random testing of its supply chain.

Another example is Nestlé, which recently told a Beijing food safety conference that it is now conducting 200,000 tests a day at 25 quality assurance centers throughout China.

The increased spending by these companies to safeguard their own sources comes as China is again promising to strengthen its food safety laws. Zhang Yong, director of China’s Food and Drug Administration, says food safety is improving in the country, but “the situation remains severe.”

Zhang wants the National People’s Congress to approve laws to give China a food safety regulatory system that deters and punishes bad behavior.

In the meantime, those who follow food safety in China expect to see more examples of private investment being used as an insurance policy against the bad publicity that comes whenever food is found to be counterfeit or contaminated.

© Food Safety News
  • flame

    My concern is NOT the consumers and businesses in China but the consumers and businesses in the USA. I would like more money from all business who sell consumers any and all types of goods especially food, drink, things our babies and youngsters use like toys loaded with lead and other harmful toxins that are produced in ‘toxic China’ and elsewhere including the USA.

  • Barb3000

    Do you know where the fox, mink meat came from? Well China raises these animals for their fur to sell to fools around the world that still buy it including plenty of them in the USA according to all of the hooded coats I saw on women on the street last winter with the fox fur ruff on the hood. So this must be what happens to the body’s of the skinned alive fox, mink, rabbits and other animals that China unfortunately raises. This shouldn’t be a surprise since they eat dogs and cats.