Friday, August 17, 2007
BEIJING: China defended the quality of its food exports and pledged to strengthen controls Friday after a series of consumer scares ranging from contaminated fish to pesticide-laced vegetables.
More than 99 percent of China’s food exports meet U.S., European Union and Japanese standards, according to a report released by the information office of China’s cabinet. The government named Deputy Prime Minister Wu Yi to head a working group on food safety and product quality.
The government commissioned the report to regain consumer confidence amid a growing scandal about toxic pet food, tainted seafood and pesticide residue in vegetables. China, also facing fallout from a toy scandal, is under pressure to ensure the safety of its exports, particularly to the United States, which shares a $343 billion trade relationship with the nation.
“The overall quality of China’s food has been steadily rising,” according to the report by the State Council Information Office, which distributes data for China’s cabinet. “China’s government has been striving to protect the interests of domestic consumers and overseas consumers.”
China’s 2006 food exports rose 13.3 percent to 24.2 million tons, valued at $26.7 billion. Imports rose 7.9 percent to 20.3 million tons, valued at $13.4 billion.
China this week lashed out at criticism of its products and repeated a pledge to ensure quality.
“It’s irresponsible to criticize the overall quality of China’s exports” based on a handful of incidents, Wang Xinpei, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said.
The government appointed Deputy Prime Minister Wu to head a committee responsible for ensuring food safety and product quality, according to the State Council.
The 19-person committee will comprise deputy ministers, director generals from a dozen government ministries including the Ministry of Commerce, Quality Investigation Bureau and the foreign ministry, according to the council.
The group is responsible for coordinating the Chinese government’s work to enhance the safety and quality of the country’s food, consumer products, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products, the council said.
U.S. authorities have raised concerns in recent months about seafood containing harmful drugs, toothpaste with an ingredient found in antifreeze and pet food containing a chemical used to make plastics.
Mattel recalled 18.2 million Chinese-made products Tuesday on concerns that children would swallow magnets attached to the toys. A global search by Johnson & Johnson has tracked to China counterfeit versions of an at-home diabetes test used by 10 million Americans to measure blood-sugar levels.
“China will urge industry associations to help companies to step up their self-discipline in production and quality control and increase quality awareness training for manufacturers,” Wang Xinpei, spokesman for the Commerce Ministry, said.
In the report Friday, the government reiterated previously released figures that 99.2 percent of Chinese food shipments last year to the United States met American standards. That compares with the 99.9 percent pass rate for exports to the European Union and 99.4 percent to Japan, the report said.
To improve quality, the Chinese government plans to force small producers to combine into larger, better-financed groups that can afford to increase quality and safety measures.
Almost 80 percent of China’s food producers are small shops employing fewer than 10 workers, producing less than 10 percent of the goods in the industry, according to the report.
Up to 30 percent of the small producers failed quality standards last year, the report said. The government forced 8,814 producers to close down, took action against 5,631 and forced 5,385 companies to improve their production, the report said.
So the Chinese government takes these scandals seriously by appointing their top government official to aggresively tackle the issue. This comes as no surprise when Mattel becomes freaked out over Barbies coated with lead paint and with the ongoing scandals surrounding bootleg antibiotics and tainted food circulating the world. It doesn’t help that the Koreans are going bonkers over one of their pro-China envoys first getting poisoned by eating packaged sandwich and then dying after being injected with the wrong medication by irresponsible nurses.
This is what one Korean netizen wrote about the affair with the Korean envoy:
The cause was simple, WRONG INJECTION. It caused a shock.
Not only did the chinese hospital (VIASTA CLINIC)/government NOT apologize, they made fun and joked around at his death-bed, and went right along to treat other patients. As if that wasn’t enough, after they found out that was the korean diplomat, they said “well, if anyone had told us that he was someone that important, we would’ve treated him with special treatment.”
This is the country that will host the Olympic games next year. Who, by the way, is putting North Korea’s 백두산 (Mt. Baek-Doo) on the front page of the 2008 Beijing Olympics brochure, claiming it their own.
This is the country that claims Korea’s ancient history theirs.
This is the country that makes tainted and poisonous pet food, toys, toothpaste, and anything you name it.
This is the country where little children are kidnapped to be sold to adoption companies or worse, prostitution or slavery.
Humanism vs. Barbarism.
This is 21st century for fuck’s sake!!!!!
Some of the accounts surrounding his treatment and death were obviously sensationalised but this will only strengthen the Sino-Korean rift that is deepening because of historical disputes over Gogoryeo, Changbaisan, and reoccurring complaints of Chinese artists sampling Korean music. This rift will clearly benefit the Americans and possibly the Japanese governments.
So in addition to those problems, China has managed to kill off their indigenous river dolphins, make Beijing completely unbearable for Olympic athletes, and proved to the world that Chinese people are still backward despite the decade-long growth into the world’s fourth largest economy. The Taiwanese must be having a big party over these developments.
I understand this is critical of China, but I must channel my Inner Taiwanese to show my frustration at the lack of progress because a handful of CCP bureaucrats are only focused on economic burnout at the expense of real issues that affect China and now the rest of the world. These idiots should think about how American greed resulted in selling contaminated subprime Collateralised Mortgage Obligations (CMO)and derivatives to the world ruined the financial markets to actually realise the damage they are causing with their incompentence.