Food Safety: Chinese are Second-class Citizens

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China Industrial Meat trip by Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

I have to say, Chinese people’s deficient awareness on food safety is an accelerant to raise the problem. When look at the New York Times, I’m surprised that there is a single forum about China’s food safety. I actually shouldn’t be surprised. Our food is beyond unhealthy – it’s not safe.

Recently, more and more news appear about Chinese overseas purchasing agents being “sweeping” global market, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, England, and the U.S. It’s funny that bottled Canadian’s fresh air has market in China. Guess how much are they? It’s $14 to $20 per bottle; now we know that air can be merchandise – and the word “ridiculousness,” probably.

Therefore, I have to say, we’re second-class citizens when we eat. In 2013, a Chinese specialist insisted that China’s food related departments needed to establish a concept to citizens that “toxin from detection of food safety doesn’t representative violation and harm.” In other words, if toxin in food doesn’t exceed a certain amount. Compared with the U.S., FDA usually recall food that possesses “potential” hidden danger for health. For example, also in 2013, ANNIE voluntarily recalled its pizza products because they have “possible” presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh, and there was no consumer complaints. Based on China’s concept, if no one get problem from food products or no one dead caused by the food products, it means that the products are “safe,” so the government and food companies don’t have to take management measures. It’s just like Canadian air merchandise; again, let me really understand the word “ridiculousness.”

It’s like a logical game. No report, no potential problem. I admire that our experts who could relate between food incident report and food safety, forcibly; it looks like a logical formulas: because A=0, B=1. In my mind, their opinions are intentional deceivableness or try to freedom from responsibility. If problems occur, they will exert huge influence. Now, more and more Chinese family would prefer foreign milk powder than homemade, because of the influences and pain of Sanlu milk scandal have not dropped away. To be honest, it brings an opportunity for we overseas students because we can buy milk power from other countries, and some of my Chinese friends are really good “milk powder sellers.” Hence, it’s not surprised that many countries like UK now is limiting sales of baby milk in order to stop surge buying from Chinese. The difference on food safety regulatory system and concept behind diversity of values between China and the U.S. is a warning to China that we really do need to improve our consciousness and attitudes on food safety.

Moreover, in the U.S., news media will primarily interview victims, people in charge, and competent department when an incident occurs, and then will focus on public opinions. As for experts and scientists, they just need to provide an academic background. So, why do our experts want to interference public’s opinions and preference? In the final analysis, food safety problem is a matter of market action, business and management, and other related departments, but not of scientific community. Indeed, conclusion should be concluded by citizens’ common sense rather than experts’ academic points. In China, a labelling with “science” equals a spokesman of “truth,” so the person is able to judge everything. In other words, some Chinese “experts” of the competent department keep on saying how scientific community is great, but it exactly reflects the negligence of human rights. Therefore, I would have to say on the aspect of food safety, we’re backward.

It’s like nothing is safe in my home country. Air is polluted; water is polluted, and food is not safe. I can see citizens’ complaint through China’s social media platforms. But we’re still alive, with our expectation and endeavor. I believe that food will not be a problem in the future as long as our food regulation is based on civil benefits instead of experts’ theory.

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