China’s food scandals are infamous with news outlets, as new ones seem to crop up each year. According to Forbes, in 2014, the Supreme People’s Court convicted 2,647 individuals with charges related to food safety in a total of over 2,000 cases. The Chinese government is taking steps, however, to remedy the outbreak of food safety issues, as a new food safety law was just implemented on October 1 of this year. Although the law includes stricter punishments for offenders and bans on toxic pesticides, many don’t believe they’ll see improvements very quickly, according to the BBC. Here are some of the food safety concerns in China in 2015.
A vendor in Zhejiang is being investigated after possibly injecting gelatin or another substance into shrimp to make them appear fuller. A general rule of thumb for food in China is not to buy something that looks especially fresh or appetizing since it could look that way due to additives and chemicals.
This made the news in January. In an operation that began over a year ago and spanned to more than 11 provinces, Chinese officials seized over 1,000 tons of contaminated pork and 48 tons of unsafe cooking oil, all made from diseased pigs bought by syndicates at discount rates from farmers.
Chinese authorities seized over 100,000 tons of smuggled meat this summer, and some of it was reportedly over 40 years old. All the meat had been thawed and refrozen several times. The meat seized was estimated to be worth about $483 million.
A contaminated milk scandal in 2008 sickened over 54,000 children and killed at least four, but this recall is much less widespread. Three producers of powdered milk for infants in the region of Shaanxi were asked this summer to recall products that, when tested, revealed inordinate nitrate levels.