Tuesday, May 29, 2007

China's Food and Drug regulator gets death penalty!

I haven't covered the Chinese food contamination story much ( for an excellent series of articles, see Dave Schuler's fine work on this subject at The Glittering Eye ) but this caught my attention...a death sentence for China's corrupt top food and drug regulator!

Zheng Xiaoyu, head of the State Food and Drug Administration from 1998 until his sacking in 2005, was convicted yesterday in a Beijing court of taking 6.49 million yuan ($1.04 million) in bribes and for `dereliction of duty'.

Along with the harsh sentence, China announced that it would introduce the country's first food-recall system ever. Obviously, the Chinese are feeling the effects of the scandal over tainted pet food and believe it not, toothpaste.

Aside from pet foods spiked with the chemical melamine which killed dogs and cats in the US, the latest scandal involves Chinese toothpaste imports after reports that toothpaste sold in Australia, the Dominican Republic and Panama were tainted with diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze and brake fluid. The US has banned all Chinese made toothpaste, and three southern US states have also banned imports of catfish from China.

According to the government-controlled English-language China Daily, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine - which is the Chinese government department responsible for approving the safety of Chinese exports - claims that the new recall system will focus on "potentially dangerous and unapproved food products".

Apparently the Chinese aren't totally to blame for this situation.Li Yuanping, the administration's head of food imports and exports, claimed that about 56 per cent of the substandard food products imported by the US from China last month were "illegal products" that had not been approved for export by the government.

"It is these illegal products that have tarnished the reputation of all Chinese food products," he said.

According to China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, almost one third of China's 450,000 food production companies, mostly smaller companies employing less than 10 people, were unlicensed.

Food for thought, no? ( sorry)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those Chinese don't mess around. Still, $1 mil is a loooot of money.