Target: Yan Zuqiang, Director-General of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Demand stricter enforcement to food safety laws
To add to the list of China’s food safety scandals, which include the recall of tainted baby formula in 2008 and deadly avian influenza from unsanitary poultry markets in 2013, a Shanghai-based meat supplier to China’s McDonalds and KFC chains has now been exposed for using expired beef chicken in its nuggets, sandwiches, and other food products. In a local television broadcast, one manager admitted that using expired meat was actually part company policy and that the practice had gone for years.
This most recent incident reveals that in spite of tightened food safety laws, such as the 2009 ban on unauthorized additives in food, China is still struggling to overcome several challenges to cleaning up its food system. Environmental degradation, for instance, mainly in the form of water and soil pollution presents a serious obstacle. Yet, even the laws currently in place to prevent such breaches in food safety lack the enforcement needed to be effective.
In response to recent scandals in China’s food system, proposed changes to the 2009 law include tougher civic and criminal penalties for those who violate food safety regulations. Without strict enforcement, however, such changes would only continue the pattern of ineffective regulation. According to a recent article in the New York Times, many officials responsible for enforcing the laws often lack the proper training they need to do their jobs.
By signing the petition below, you can demand that China’s food safety laws be given the muscle they need to protect consumers’ health. To continue business as usual would be to place people and the environment at greater risk.
Dear Director-General Yan,
I am writing in regard to the recent scandal involving the use of expired beef and chicken by Shanghai-based meat supplier Shanghai Husi Food. Providing meat products to fast food chains like KFC and McDonalds in China, Shanghai Husi Food has apparently been doing this practice for years and made it a policy of sorts.
This incident shows that recently tightened food safety laws still suffer from lack of enforcement. As long as officials responsible for enforcing laws lack the necessary training to do their jobs, would-be violators of the regulations have no incentive to follow those laws.
The Shanghai Husi Food scandal is only the most recent of past food safety incidents like the recall of tainted baby formula in 2008 and the deadly avian influenza from unsanitary poultry markets in 2013. This trend illustrates that to continue business as usual only increases the risk of harm to China’s people and environment. I urge you to take immediate action and provide better training to officials, so they may enforce current and proposed food safety laws. Lives are at stake, and your leadership is crucial.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: every one via flickr