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Posts Tagged ‘food safety’

China Daily reports that the central government has ordered several departments to start alerting the public about unsafe food and to cooperate with each other in doing so. But its method, that of issuing regulations, does no more than nibble at the problem. Only last year did China pass a food safety law. It hasn’t been effective in protecting the public. The government needs a law with teeth enough to take a big bite out of bureaucratic and business resistance to transparency. The entire article reads as if regulations will solve the problems, which may be the angle ordered by propaganda authorities. But at the very end of the story, which censors typically fail to reach, comes a single paragraph from an anonymous source. Alert readers will recognize it as a prediction of government inaction despite its appearance in a story touting government in action. For a description of the former, see “A poisoned sense of duty” on the Columns page. A link to the article is below.

“Public to be given more food safety information,”

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2010-11/10/content_11527939.htm

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Previously, China Daily reported that milk powder by a Chinese manufacturer was suspected of containing hormones that caused baby girls to develop breasts. Today, the paper reports that what had been presented as news might actually have been rumors started by a competitor as a smear campaign. Unfortunately, there’s really no way for readers to know with certainty which reports are true. The paper routinely reports rumors and cites anonymous netizens as sources for “news,” as do Global Times and People’s Daily. Couple this with the unlikelihood of getting any comment from official sources such as police or prosecutors, plus the dismal record of genuine food safety horrors in China, and you have the reasons so many Chinese parents travel all the way to Hong Kong to buy milk powder for their babies. They feel they can’t trust mainland-made products or get the truth about their safety from mainland news media.

 Here’s the link to today’s story in China Daily, which itself contains links to previous articles on the topic: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-10/21/content_11437735.htm.

Same topic as reported by the Global Times: http://china.globaltimes.cn/society/2010-10/584566.html

Same topic, People’s Daily, which actually uses yet another Global Times article: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/7172511.html

In addition, here are links to two columns related to the use of dubious sources and the challenges of reporting about food safety in China:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2010-02/11/content_9462237.htm

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2010-03/15/content_9588751.htm

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