Food is the material basis for human being to survive, multiply, maintain their health and develop. Every day, people must ingest a certain amount of food to maintain their own lives and health, also to ensure the normal growth, development and activities of the body. The quality of food directly affects human health, so food safety is an important issue. Chinese ancients expressed their concern over the issue of food safety with the saying that “food is the first necessity of people and eating safely comes first”. And the earliest record of Chinese literature for dietary safety comes from Confucius 2,500 years ago. He put forward the principle of “five food people do not eat”: People do not eat rotten fish and meat; People don’t eat foods that change color; People don’t eat foods that change smell; People don’t eat foods that are not cooked well; People don’t eat unseasonably food.
However, as human beings develop from political, economic, cultural and social aspects, the development model of human society has undergone a transition from agricultural civilization to industrial civilization and now it’s moving from industrial civilization to knowledge-based civilization, accompanied by the fact that people have completely changed the system of solely relying on traditional agriculture and animal husbandry to get food source. Now, people can use developed modern industry, science and technology to create foods that is able to meet human needs. Although the development of the food industry makes people have no worries about hungry, as the media continues to expose the food problems, food safety issues in China has aroused widespread concern.
Typical food safety issues
1.Abuse of food additives
With the development of food science and technology, the use of food additives is also increased. Food additives can prevent food spoilage and increase the shelf life of food. When the additive is used in a certain dosage, it does not pose any threat to people’s health, but when the dosage exceeds standard or the additive is improperly used, food will be a little bit toxic.
However, unscrupulous merchants add inedible additives to foods such as clenbuterol or tony red. These violations pose a serious threat to consumers’ health. In Chinese media food safety reports, news of unqualified food additives is always unavoidable. Food additives has become a very important issue of food safety.
Sudan Red 1 is an industrial red dye that is used for colouring solvents, oils, waxes, petrol and shoe and floor polishes. It has been banned as a food colourant throughout the EU since 2003, due to its carcinogenic properties. The “Sudan Red” incident was triggered by the discovery by the Italian food regulator of the potentially carcinogenic red pigment “Sudan No. 1” in condiments exported from Britain’s No. 1 Food Company. From February 23, 2005, China’s inspection and quarantine department and the administrative department for industry and commerce carried out a campaign to detect food that contained sudan 1. A week later, the Sudanese Red was inspected in a chili sauce made by a food production company in Guangzhou. Sudan Red 1 was detected in this company’s condiments for 2003, 2004 and 2005. Since then, 88 products from 30 enterprises in 11 provinces of China had been found to contain Sudan, including KFC.
2.The market contains fake and shoddy products
Chinese market is full of a large number of businesses. The products of some small businesses do not sell well for some reasons, so they use the reputation of big brands. These small businesses make package that’s similar to big brands in order to mislead consumers to buy them products and improve their production. For example, in the Chinese market, there is a famous beverage called six walnuts, while some businesses have created seven walnuts, eight walnuts and other fake and shoddy products to deceive consumers.
Most of these fake and shoddy products have similar package as authentic products , the spokesman’s hairstyle and genuine clothes are also very similar and the price of fake and shoddy products is only a little bit lower than the authentic products, so that consumers are hard to identify them. Such behavior not only damages the reputation of genuine businesses, but also deceives the consumers, so that consumers’ safety is not guaranteed.
Solutions to the current situation of food safety in China
The frequent occurrence of food safety incidents is a torture of fairness, justice and responsibility of the whole society. However, the issue of food safety is not an accident. Objectively speaking, it is directly related to the unbalanced rapid economic development in China and the regional diversity. Subjectively speaking, under the background of rapid economic growth in China,food safety issues are related to the huge temptation of interests. Some departments and enterprises that are without the corresponding conditions violate laws to engage food related industries in order to obtain the benefits. Therefore, food safety issues are related to Chinese national policies and social environment.
From nation and government perspective
In recent years, China has taken a series of major measures to promote food safety. In 2009, the Food Safety Law was promulgated. In 2010, the China Council Food Safety Commission was established. In 2011, the China Food Safety Risk Assessment Center was established. In 2013, the China Food and Drug Administration was established. In 2014, the draft of food safety law of the People’s Republic of China was
introduced to public and public consultation is open to the whole society.
From operators and public perspective
Operators should comply with the food safety regulations, manage their industry scientifically, compete fairly, to achieve the scale, standardization and branding of the product and ultimately create a powerful food security system.
Knowledge related to food safety should be further publicized in order to raise the public’s awareness. And the public should actively participate in food safety issues, give full play to their own feedback and supervision by public opinion and make full use of legal weapons to defend their legitimate rights and interests. Through the efforts of the general public, a safe and healthy food production and consumption atmosphere will be built.
Food safety is not a small matter. It involves the vital interests of everyone. As long as the corresponding work is done, I believe China’s food safety issue will be resolved.