A crisis in confidence in China's food industry emerged after melamine was found in domestically produced baby formula in 2008. The scandal sickened 300,000 babies and resulted in six premature deaths

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Heads roll in Wuhan after pork delivered in garbage truck
Two officials in the Chinese city of Wuhan were fired and another was under investigation after government staff used a garbage truck to ship a consignment of pork for human consumption, local authorities said. The government has largely controlled food supplies since Wuhan, the city in central Hubei province at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, was locked down in late January. Residents were outraged when the pork they bought from government stores arrived in the vehicle on Wednesday. The meat, packed in plastic bags containing 1,000 portions, was tipped onto the ground and then handed out to customers, according to residents who complained about tainted food on Weibo, China’s Twit
Chinese city drafts ‘white list’ of 9 edible animals. Dogs are out
The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has proposed a regulation that would prohibit the eating of cats and dogs as part of a nationwide drive to implement a “total ban” on the wildlife trade following the Covid-19 outbreak. The city has drafted a “white list” of nine farm animals deemed fit for consumption – pigs, cattle, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons.  While the list is not exhaustive, the city said in a notice it was seeking to make a “stringent” law to promote “civilized eating habits.” Eaters of forbidden species would be fined between 2,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan ($280 to $2,800), according to the proposal. The animals’ breeders and sellers would be punished w
Will China embrace plant-based meat? We’re about to find out
If anyone wants to convince Chinese people to eat less pork, the country’s favorite meat, now is a very opportune time.  Over the past four months, pork prices have more than doubled in China, due to an outbreak of African swine fever that has wiped out more than 30% of the country’s pig herd, which experts say will take years to rebuild.  Green Common, a plant-based food company based in Hong Kong, is hoping the pork crisis means more people are in the market for alternatives.  “There is a market for this product in China,” said Casey Hall, a Shanghai-based writer who’s been covering Chinese consumers for over a decade.  Chinese people are certainly opting for other kinds of meat, as risin
Chinese leaders should start eating what the people eat
The root of China’s pandemic food safety problem? The powerful and the people are not eating the same food. Food safety in China can be a highly emotive and incendiary issue because of the country’s appalling record over the past decade, including a litany of public health scandals affecting children. Chinese parents are constantly on edge because of the alarming occurrence of such scandals in the past, involving unscrupulous businessmen taking advantage of ineffective law enforcement and the government’s previous propensity to cover up such incidences. This month, hundreds of parents stormed a local school in the southwestern province of Sichuan and clashed with police when several dozen st
Chinese parents pepper sprayed over school protests
Parents in southwestern China were pepper-sprayed by police on Wednesday, after trying to storm the gates of the high school where their students were allegedly served mold-covered meals. Chengdu police arresting the parents protesting after expired food found in their children’s school canteen. pic.twitter.com/D7XSEsVff1 — William Zheng Wei (@zhengwei75) March 13, 2019 Parents of students at the school had spotted piles of decaying poultry when they stumbled into the kitchen at Development School of Chengdu No 7 High School on Tuesday. The next day, pictures of ribs covering in white fungus and suspicious worm-looking black dots started circulating on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social plat
China investigates herbal medicine empire’s alleged role in girl’s death
Herbal drinks made of chives and broccoli seeds, sanitary pads boosted with “negative ions” and fire therapy – these are what a Chinese health care company offers to treat diseases and improve people’s health. Chinese firm Quanjian, a business based in the northern city of Tianjin, has grown into a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate by promising “natural” therapies in its thousands of franchises across the country. Now the company, which owns hospitals, drug factories and soccer clubs, has come under fire after a media report connected it to the death of a young girl.  Quanjian has denied being responsible for the death. But the public backlash against the once-obscure health empire has renew
The PhD Chinese swapping the boardroom for the farmyard
When thousands of diseased and bloated pig carcasses floated down a tributary of the Huangpu River in Shanghai in early 2013, after being dumped upstream by farmers, the stench turned Zheng Lixing’s stomach. “If you were there, you wouldn’t have been able to eat for a few days,” says Zheng, a native of Shaanxi province in northwest China with a doctorate in polymer science from Tianjin University of Science and Technology. The experience got him concerned about the state of the agricultural sector in China. For centuries before its industrialization, China was an agrarian society. But soil contamination, caused by pesticide and fertilizer use, but also industry and waste disposal, has becom
A new law could let Chinese vaccine victims sue
China is planning a new law that would allow people to sue drug makers for punitive damages in cases of death or serious illness caused by faulty vaccines. The draft Vaccine Management Law, posted online for public consultation on Sunday night, follows the country’s largest-ever vaccine safety scandal earlier this year. Currently, if it is proved that a correctly made and stored vaccine caused adverse health effects, victims can qualify for compensation. But there is no provision for people who are injured by substandard vaccines – a problem which has become an increasingly public issue in China. China has been hit by a string of vaccine safety scandals in recent years, although there have n
Chinese vaccine maker fined $1.3 billion after safety scandal
A Chinese vaccine maker has been hit with a record fine after the faulty vaccines it was accused of making caused renewed public outrage over drug safety in the country. The penalty of $1.3 billion meted out to a unit of Changsheng Bio-technology was announced by China's food and drug authority, two months after a vaccine scandal triggered widespread anger. China has struggled to clean up its food and drug safety scandals, despite tough punishments in the past. Sanlu, the diary producer at the center of a deadly tainted baby milk powder scandal, was ordered by a court to pay a fine of about $7 million in 2009. The Chinese units of US food supplier OSI were fined about $3.6 million in 2016 fo
Rainbow trout = salmon, apparently
Um, is that really salmon sashimi you’re eating? In China, it could be the real thing, or it could be rainbow trout. After a scandal earlier in the year in which freshwater rainbow trout was labeled and sold as salmon, new guidelines are attempting to increase food safety – but they’re also allowing the mis-labeling to go ahead.   The two fish look similar and many consumers are unable to discern any differences in taste or texture. But they are different. Salmon live mainly in seawater, while rainbow trout swim in rivers, lakes and streams. Generally, freshwater fish are more susceptible to parasites – a potential issue when it comes to serving the raw salmon sashimi that’s highly popular