China is ordering half of its dairy producers to close shop in effort to tidy up the country's tainted milk industry and to usher in a new era of consumer safety. After a recent nationwide inspection of matters milk-related, China's top quality control body ? ' the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine -- is pulling operating licenses from 426 dairy producers and suspending operations for 107 more, state-run China Daily reports.
The closures and suspensions account for nearly half of China's 1,176 domestic dairy producers, the China Daily said, though the newspaper did not cite specific reasons for license termination.
Nearly 80% of the country's 145 producers of infant formula, large quantities of which were found to contain the industrial chemical melamine in 2008, passed inspection.
Tighter supervision of dairy production comes as China's safety regulators attempt shore up an industry that has suffered crippling safety problems.
The 2008 melamine scandal killed at least six children and caused illnesses in nearly 300,000 others. Chinese consumers responded by avoiding locally-produced milk products. Dairy imports jumped from 120,000 tons in 2008 to 600,000 in 2009, according to state media. Nearly three years after the incident, consumers continue to flock to import dairy products on the assumption that they are safer.
The fears go beyond dairy. A recent survey conducted by Insight China, a magazine, and Tsinghua University's Media Survey Lab found that 70% of consumers fear food safety in China. Many are suspicious of meat quality and even materials used in food packaging. Around 50% of consumers feel the government should increase its oversight, the survey said.
The central government is making a broad push to respond to those fears. In February it announced a campaign to improve oversight of food processing, circulation, service, and additives.
But many believe China has a long way to go in its effort to protect consumers. Despite frequently threatening food safety violators with the death penalty and having executed two milk producers in the melamine scandal, problems persist.
In late-March a supplier of the country's largest meat processor found that pigs it had purchased had been fed clenbuterol, an illegal additive that helps pigs develop lean muscle but causes nausea and headaches in humans. Meanwhile, despite all the crackdowns and criminal penalties, melamine continues to pop up in the country's dairy supply.
2011-04-07 13:55 编辑：icetonado