Archive for the Food safety Category

China bans NZ milk powder imports [People’s Daily]

Posted in Australia, China, Food safety, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam on August 8, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

(China.org.cn) August 05, 2013

China has stopped the import of all New Zealand milk powder following the alert by Fonterra that an ingredient could be contaminated by a potentially deadly bacteria, New Zealand’s trade minister said on Sunday.

New Zealand authorities have triggered a global recall of up to 1,000 tons of dairy products across seven countries after dairy giant Fonterra announced tests had turned up a type of bacteria that could cause botulism.

“The authorities in China, in my opinion absolutely appropriately, have stopped all imports of New Zealand milk powders from Australia and New Zealand,” Trade Minister Tim Groser said on a TVNZ program.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries said Saturday that the tainted products include infant formula, sports drinks, protein drinks and other beverages. It said countries affected in addition to New Zealand include China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

Fonterra said its customers were urgently checking their supply chains.

Fonterra is the world’s largest dairy exporter, with annual revenues of about US$16 billion.

Consumers in China and elsewhere are willing to pay a big premium for New Zealand infant formula because the country has a healthy reputation.

China’s product quality watchdog Friday issued a statement urging importers of Fonterra dairy products to immediately start recalling the products.

In 2008, six babies in China died and another 300,000 were left ill by infant formula that was tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical added to watered-down milk.

Fonterra owned a minority stake in Sanlu, the now-bankrupt Chinese company at the center of the scandal.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90778/8352091.html

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Chinese celebrities to be punished for advertising unsafe food products [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Corruption, Food safety, Law enforcement on May 13, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, May 5 (Xinhua) — Celebrities will be punished for advertising unsafe food products in accordance with laws, a judicial official has said.

The celebrities will also be prosecuted for criminal liability for producing and spreading deceptive advertising with the identity of advertising managers or releasers, said spokesman of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) Sun Jungong on Saturday.

The SPC and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate recently issued interpretations that specify crimes related to food safety and set standards for the punishment for these crimes, a move to combat increasingly severe food scandals.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90882/8232737.html

Credibility of Chinese organic food crippled by mislabeling practise [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Food safety on November 20, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Nov. 5, 2011

BEIJING, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — For shoppers in China’s supermarkets, the only ways to distinguish between organic products and their conventional counterparts are often the stark price differences and certification labels.

Organic food, whether fruit, vegetables or meat, has increasingly found its way on to supermarket shelves as buyers opt for “green food” in a country hit by many high-profile food scares in recent years.

Most Chinese customers have only a vague idea about what constitutes organic produce. Nevertheless, many deem it as nutritious and pollution-free, and fear risking their health if they choose non-organic food potentially contaminated by chemical fertilizers. They may be willing to pay up to three times more for organic, putting faith in companies’ and farmers’ certification labels indicating food produced with fewer agricultural chemicals.

Perhaps they wouldn’t be quite so trusting if they realized a great variety of food labeled as “organic” on shelves is no such thing. In fact, as Xinhua research has revealed, it takes no more than a few thousand dollars for producers to obtain a “green” certification, often irrespective of the credentials of their wares. The unscrupulous certifiers taking their money are cashing in on the craze for organic food by exploiting a lax legislative system in this newly developed area.

“Some certifiers are handing out organic qualifications at will,” said Liu Gang, an organic food broker who’s been trading, processing and packaging organic food for years.

“A certificate is accessible as long as you are willing to pay from 20,000 yuan (about 3,150 U.S. dollars) to 30,000 yuan,” explained Liu, who does business in Beijing, Shandong and Guangxi.

A quick search for “organic certification” on Baidu throws up dozens of consultancy groups claiming they can complete the industry-standard inspection of agricultural produce and grant “green” certification within three months, a promise that prestigious certifiers can not deliver.

And it’s not just the Internet that certifiers are using to pick up clients. Zhang Yanxiang, owner of an organic farm in Shandong province says that, since some of his signature produce passed organic tests by a state-recognized organic certifier recently, he has been constantly harassed by phone calls from small certifiers…

Full article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90882/7636320.html

Shanghai officials say sorry for steamed buns scandal [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Food safety, Shanghai on April 22, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 15, 2011

Shanghai food safety authorities apologized to city residents yesterday for the steamed buns scandal where a local company used dye and excessive amounts of artificial sweetener in the product and relabeled outdated food.

They said the city would be launching a series of inspections of food producers.

Wang Longxing, director of the Shanghai Food Safety Office, said:  "I say sorry to local residents, and I should take the responsibility for the buns scandal."

Snack and cooked food manufacturers will be under strict public scrutiny in the wake of the incident where tainted buns produced by the Shanghai Shenglu Food Co Ltd were sold at 10 local supermarkets, including Dia, Lianhua and Hualian chain stores, Wang said. Continue reading

Chemist implicated in Shuanghui pork scandal [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Food safety, Law enforcement on April 16, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 8, 2011

Police in Central China’s Henan province have brought 95 people implicated last month in a tainted pork scandal into custody and have successfully solved the case, Henan public security authority announced over the weekend.

The Henan police said they have ceased to investigate the case, which began with the discovery that the Henan-based Shuanghui Group, China’s largest meat processor, had bought pigs fed with clenbuterol, an illegal additive also named "lean meat powder".

Clenbuterol helps pigs burn fat and results in leaner and more expensive meat.  It can cause heart palpitations and dizziness in people.  In China, the substance has been banned as an additive in animal feed since 2002.

The illegal factory where the clenbuterol was produced has been closed, a senior official with Henan’s public security department, who requested anonymity, told Xinhua News Agency.

The police seized 14 suspects on March 15, when a subsidiary of Shuanghui was first found to have used the additive. By March 29, the police had taken into custody every suspect believed to be a party to the case, including producers, sellers and buyers of the drug.  The suspects hailed from Hubei, Henan, Shaanxi and Jiangsu provinces.

According to the official, the clenbuterol in Henan was produced in a chemical factory in Baquan village of Xiangyang city, in Hubei province.

One of the chief suspects, surnamed Liu, worked in the factory and was in charge of a workshop.  He secretly produced clenbuterol in addition to doing his daily work. Nobody in the plant knew of his covert undertakings until the police arrived on March 22.

Continue reading

Officials under prosecutor investigation over pork contamination scandal [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Corruption, Food safety on April 14, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 9, 2011

Prosecutors have started to investigate 12 civil servants for dereliction of duty after pigs were tested positive for a chemical poisonous to humans, a spokesman with the procuratorate in central China’s Henan Province said Friday.

Authorities have inquired 53 officials and government workers for alleged dereliction of duty, and decided to start formal prosecutor investigations against 12 of them, after a subsidiary of Shuanghui Group, China’s largest meat producer, was exposed for using clenbuterol-contaminated pork in its meat products last month, said the spokesman.

A total of 72 people in Henan Province, where Shuanghui is based, have been taken into police custody for allegedly producing, selling or using clenbuterol, according to a previous government statement. Continue reading

Hangzhou netizen in custody for spreading Internet hoax about Japanese radiation in China, feeding salt-buying panic [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Environmental disaster, Food safety, Hangzhou, Japan, Nukes on March 26, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

One of the really sad thing amongst many is this guy was a worker in the IT sector, and he not only fell for a scientifically false rumor, he propagated it. – Zuo Shou 左手

March 22, 2011

A netizen surnamed Chen in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province, was held in custody for 10 days and fined 500 yuan ($76) by local police on Sunday for spreading salt rumors online last Tuesday.

Working at a computer company, the 31-year-old man posted a hoax on a local online forum, saying that the radiation leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan had polluted the sea off the coast of eastern Shandong province. He encouraged people to store salt and dried kelp.  He also said they should try to avoid eating seafood for a year.  
The post spread rapidly on the Internet and caused local residents to panic, according to the police.

Chen said he received the false information when chatting with a friend online.

In Shanghai, the local police said on Friday last week that two men will be faced with prosecution for disseminating rumors that said the city will be severely contaminated by the nuclear leak in Japan, Shanghai-based news portal Xinmin.cn reported.
Among the other causes of the panicked purchases of salt were rumors contending that eating iodized salt could prevent people from being harmed by radiation leaked from a Japanese nuclear plant.

Supermarket shelves in places like Zhejiang, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Sichuan provinces and in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai were nearly devoid of salt by Thursday.

However, by Saturday last week, some consumers who had realized that the hoarding of salt would not be useful in countering a leak of nuclear radiation had started to return to supermarkets to try to get their money back. Continue reading