Fake eggs made with resin and pigments; preserved fruit mixed with bleaching agents to keep it looking fresh; fox, mink, and rat meat being sold as beef and lamb… these are all food scandals China has dealt with in recent years. The government continues to arrest alleged perpetrators, and in 2014 alone, the Supreme People’s Court tried over 2,000 cases related to food safety, convicting some 2,647 people, according to Forbes.
New figures suggest that almost half of food-processing plants in China do not meet standards accepted internationally. Each year, news of far-fetched food fraud keeps on coming. In June 2015 alone, Chinese customs agents seized over 100,000 tons of smuggled meat, some of which was allegedly over 40 years old. Finally, though, as of October 1, China has put a new food safety law into practice. Included in the legislation are stricter penalties for offenders, bans on toxic pesticides, and clearer food labeling regulations. According to the BBC, farming practices are relatively difficult for the government to track, and many think it will take a significant amount of time for concerned citizens to see real change. There’s definitely a balance between overly cautious and not experiencing the country to the fullest and getting sick and wishing you knew what to avoid. Here are seven tips for eating safely in mainland China.