New Regulations Aim to Fix "Grim" Food Safety Conditions in China

Tue. January 13th, 2015
- by Kyle Braver     

CHINA - After a series of major food safety scandals, Chinese consumers, regulators and traders are growing increasingly concerned with the "grim" state of food safety in the country. Regulators and government officials have taken notice and are planning a series of measures to fix the situation. 

This is important news for U.S. exporters who currently ship $111.8 billion worth of goods to China each year, according to November 2014 U.S. Census data. Agriculture exports, of course, make up a significant portion of these totals. In fact, according to the USDA, 20% of all U.S. farm exports go to China. The question has been raised as to whether an increase in consumer confidence in China's domestic market could have an impact on the volume of fresh food the country continues to demand from outside nations.  

There is, however, broad agreement among regulators and interested parties that something must be done.

“The current situation in China with regards to food safety is weak at best, with insufficient regulation and monitoring systems that have been rocked by major scandals recently, including alleged tainted meat and baby food incidents,” explained AUSVEG Spokesperson Andrew White. According to a press release, AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

"We must soberly recognize the current foundations of China's food and drug safety are still weak, with new and old risks together creating a grim situation," agreed a regulator with China's Food and Drug Administration.

Some good news on this front, however, is that help is on the way. According to Reuters, China will be strengthening up its “active” regulatory body in order to prevent future incidents. Recognizing that its resources have been overextended in the effort to keep up with the fastly growing economy and that the quality of its personnel, legal structures, management methods and food safety technology are insufficient, China's government is stepping up its efforts to fix the problem.

“We welcome the announcement by China’s food and drug regulator that they are looking into increasing ‘active’ regulation, but it is still worrying to us that these major lapses continue as China is one of Australia’s top vegetable importers,” White shared in light of this news.

The specific nature of these new regulations have yet to be disclosed. When further details do come to light, however, you can count on AndNowUKnow to keep you updated with the latest.