Why China Must Deal With Regulating Unsafe Food
Abstract The food safety issues facing China, the “2008 milk scandal” brought worldwide attention to contamination in Chinese dairy products. In addition to a number of consequences for the Chinese people, the incident caused international problems for China, damaging the reputation of the “Made in China” label. Examining the incident shows that both of the dairy producers and manufactories, as well as the Chinese government, were to blame. Solutions for the future may include changes in technology, laws and education. Through the actions taken by the Chinese government and the market participants in various areas, the reasons why this incident happened and the severity of food and health issue in China will be discussed in this essay later.
The Sanlu Incident: Why China Must Deal With Regulating Unsafe Food In 2008, 14 infants in China got kidney stones at the same time, sparking the fuse of the famous “Sanlu Incident”. This was known in China as the 2008 Chinese milk scandal. The scandal was a food safety incident in China, involving the milk and infant formula and other food materials and components adulterated with melamine. The chemical “melamine” was found in the milk powder produced by Sanlu, which was the main cause of infants’ illness. Melamine is a kind of chemical that will cause urinary system to produce stones (Julie R. and Ingelfinger, M.D., 2008). The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ) released melamine dairy inspection reports on domestic manufacturers of infant formula. The whole issue deteriorated rapidly. Later, many famous Chinese dairy manufactures, Such as Yili and Yashili, were also found to produce dairy products containing toxic chemicals. This incident caused vicious influences and consequences. “Many babies are the direct victims of the events and they are still under threat and Chinese dairy product industry also slumped”. (Gossner, C.,Schlundt, J., Ben Embarek, P. and Tritscher, A., 2009). China’s foreign trade has been a great economic impact on exports. Food safety issues will be a full-blown. According to figure published by Chinese government, on September 21, 2008, there were 39,965 infants who had outpatient rehabilitation therapy counseling due to consumption of contaminated infant formula and 12,892 people hospitalized, 1,579 people had been cured, and four people dead (Nanjing daily News). To September 25, there were five persons in Hong Kong, and one person in Macao were diagnosed with that illness. Event caused great concerns and fear for the safety of dairy products. According to statistics from the Chinese customs office, being affected by "Sanlu incident", the number of dairy exports in October dropped over ninety percent and even more, among which the milk powder exports fell 99.2% as a result of Sanlu incident (Tandon, A., Pei, X., Alldrick, A., Giorgi, L., Huang, W., & Yang, R., 2011). The toxic milk not only endangered the lives and health of children, and almost destroyed China's dairy industry, leaving the "Made in China” into disrepute. Melamine triggered heated discussion, list as the top one of China's "Ten Constitution event," and America's "Times" included it in the "world's top ten news." What kind of impression of the “Made in China” in most people eyes? Foods are much cheaper than another country or more security than another country? Sanlu is just an example, but from this, we can learn China’s deficiency in sanitary supervision. Furthermore, the incident also affects the credibility of Chinese-made goods: many countries banned Chinese dairy imports. On September 24, China's