Chinese officials began a concerted nationwide campaign Tuesday to evaluate the country’s beleaguered food safety system, which has recently weathered a series of high-profile scandals, including melamine-tainted dairy and so-called “gutter oil.”
The State Council’s Food Safety Commission said that while local governments have made progress since the food safety crackdown began last year, the new round of inspections will help determine whether the campaign has been “effective,” according to Chinese official media, Xinhua.
The commission, launched in February after tons of thought-to-be-destroyed melamine-tainted dairy surfaced, is made up of three vice premiers and a dozen minister-level officials who coordinate with local governments to increase enforcement of new food safety regulations.
Melamine, an industrial chemical that can artificially boost the protein score of dairy, has repeatedly been found in the Chinese dairy supply in the years following the 2008 scandal that killed 6 infants and sickened at least 300,000. As of late, China has also dealt with pesticide-laden string beans, “gutter oil” illegally re-used for cooking, and lead candy— none of which help boost consumer confidence, a key ingredient for international trade.