Some may say that, at last, and after the recent incidents that have damaged its food industry’s reputation with food incidents such as the melamine in powdered milk debacle, China is getting tough on food safety! Food Quality News.com reports that the food authorities have been inspecting 5.9 million businesses and that local police departments have been investigating 1200 criminal cases where non edible substances have been added deliberately to foodstuffs. This has been a source of good revenue income for the criminals, since some of the non edible additions in recent incidents have been demonstrated to fool food composition analytical instruments into thinking that foods are of a very high quality and consequently of higher value.
Does this Chinese crackdown have consequences for Western importers of food ingredients? In the long term, and subject to a successful campaign, it can only serve to improve safety of food produced from Chinese sourced ingredients. In the short term however the mere fact that this level of incidents has been seen through this recent investigation by the Chinese Authorities underlines most sincerely the importance of paying heed to the need to assure the quality of supplier and of supplied materials through a risk assessment process. This approach is mandatory in the GFSI Food Standards such as the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. Ignore this important food safety control at your peril! And remember that, for now at least, the cheapest imports are not always the best in terms of food safety!