Food safety topped a recent list of public concerns [in China] in a report developed by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory of Shanghai's Jiao Tong University. The report showed that "illegal additives, poor hygiene, and unsafe materials in the manufacturing process [of food]," have caused more concern in China than anything else over the past year, and this author's stomach full of rat hot-pot and glass of toxic milk can't help but agree.
The China Daily writes that this year's study shows a 74% jump in food-fear, which probably had something to do with a few thousand dead pigs, rat meat, bird flu, swine flu, toxic water, toxic milk, ad infinitum. The lovely folks at the Daily give us a food crisis highlight reel, which goes as follows:
- In February 2012, frozen dumpling producer Zhengzhou Sinian Food Co in Henan province suffered a loss of public confidence after a customer found an adhesive bandage inside a glutinous rice dumpling.
- In April, preserved fruits sold by several big-brand stores, including snack chains Laiyifen and Baiweilin, were found to be processed in unsanitary factories and had excessive additives. All are private companies.
- In December, the Shanghai Food Safety Office said excessive amounts of antibiotics were found in eight batches of raw chicken samples taken from a KFC supplier from 2010 to 2011, triggering public outrage.
- China's food industry suffered a crisis of confidence in 2008, when milk powder produced by a company in Hebei province was found illegally laced with melamine. The chemical additive led to the deaths of six children and sickened 300,000 others.
- Even so, recurring scandals in the food industry in recent years suggest that lessons were not learned from the 2008 scandal.
- Earlier this month, New Zealand diary giant Fonterra said clostridium botulinum, a kind of toxin, was found in its whey protein, which other companies buy to produce baby formula and sports drinks.
- After that, Chinese producers who used contaminated materials from New Zealand began to recall products, the latest blow to Chinese consumers' confidence in milk powder products.
In other words, you should probably just import all of your food.