Chinese municipal contest: guess which cooking oil is counterfeit?
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
China has detained more than 2,000 people, seized tonnes of tainted products and closed more than 5,000 companies in a five-month crackdown on food safety problems, but the road ahead remains tough, state media said on Monday.
“Our recent campaign has achieved notable success. But this is just a beginning,” an unnamed official from the cabinet’s food safety task force told Xinhua news agency.
“The campaign should not be given an excessively high appraisal. We cannot lower our guard or rest up, and must be aware of the complex, long-term nature of the food safety problem and remain on high alert,” the official added…
China has struggled to rein in health safety violations in the unruly and vast food sector despite harsh punishments and repeated vows to deal with the problem.
Since July, Chinese courts have sentenced at least a dozen people to jail, including one person who received a suspended death sentence, for their roles in producing or selling pork tainted with toxic chemicals.
In the latest scandal, authorities detained 32 people for making and selling tonnes of cooking oil dredged from gutters and repackaged for sale as new.
When you have an enormous country – unregulated for centuries – criminal habits become tradition. It took the United States decades to get up to something as incomplete and often powerless as the FDA after Upton Sinclair published The Jungle. And that body’s mandate has been reversed by more than one Republican administration since.
I believe the Chinese government is aware of the task. Especially if they intend to grow their international commerce in foodstuffs. But, like anything else involving human beings and corruption, sometimes you need more than good intentions to resolve corruption. Like a lot of people with badges!