As Chinese businesses try to bolster their food safety image, it seems they can’t catch a break.
Over the past several weeks food regulators have been working to remove melamine-tainted milk from the marketplace after they found companies had repackaged ingredients recalled in the 2008 dairy scandal.
Now a highly toxic chemical has made its way onto beans–and one Chinese health official is making it clear he thinks the issue should have been kept under wraps.
Public health officials in the city of Wuhan recently announced they had destroyed 3.5 tons of beans from Sanya–a city about 1200 miles south of Wuhan–for being tainted with isocarbophos, a highly toxic and inexpensive pesticide banned from being used on produce.
Zhou Qingchong, deputy director of the agriculture bureau law enforcement team in Sanya, who had jurisdiction over the beans, responded by saying Wuhan’s publicity of the problem was “inconsiderate of friends.”
According to a wire report from Beijing, Zhou told China National Radio that the Ministry of Agriculture had taken a PR hit from Wuhan’s public announcement.
“[The announcement] did not save face for Sanya, nor did it save face for the Ministry of Agriculture,” said Zhou, according to the official China Daily newspaper.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture announced it would up inspections of beans from the region.
“Due to the lack of effective supervision of pesticide sales, farmers can still get the banned ones fairly easily, which they prefer for their low prices,” Sun Shubao, secretary general of the China Crop Protection Industry Association, told China Daily on Tuesday.