360° Coverage : Before the Food Gets to Market: Are We Paying Enough Attention...

2 Updates

Before the Food Gets to Market: Are We Paying Enough Attention to the Ministry of Agriculture's Role in Food Safety in China?

Feb 28 2014, 2:35pm CST | by

By John Balzano Discussion of Chinese food safety law and regulation frequently focuses on the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and the laws and regulations that it administers.  CFDA, and...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

34 weeks ago

Before the Food Gets to Market: Are We Paying Enough Attention to the Ministry of Agriculture's Role in Food Safety in China?

Feb 28 2014, 2:35pm CST | by

By John Balzano

Discussion of Chinese food safety law and regulation frequently focuses on the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and the laws and regulations that it administers.  CFDA, and its predecessor agency the State Food and Drug Administration, made headlines at the center of the melamine scandal and the resulting and very public death sentence and execution of its former leader Zheng Xiaoyu.

But that is really only one portion of the story surrounding food safety in China.  Less is said about the Ministry of Agriculture’s (MOA) role in supervising raw agricultural produce and vegetables, poultry, and pork products up until they enter wholesale markets. Just like CFDA, the MOA administers its own food safety law, called the Agricultural Product Quality and Safety Law. It also implements laws, regulations, and policies for the safety of pork, chicken, and seafood. Unlike the CFDA, which has been reorganized and has seen massive legislative and regulatory overhauls, MOA has seen much less change in its role.

This seems strange, because the problems that this agricultural system faces are not small. These include illegal pesticides, fertilizers, and veterinary drugs, as well as rotten or disease-ridden produce and meat. These issues are compounded by problems with the traceability of products, which are coming from hundreds of millions of small farmers and animal breeders, all with different safety issues, to markets where the products are pooled. As a result, it is often difficult to find out where the problem lies, and the contaminants change so frequently that it is also difficult to determine what to test for. Huge blind-spots also exist in MOA regulation, for example, with respect to animal and pet food in China. Nearly no regulations on core issues exist in this important area.

The best products, or products from the larger, more trusted, certified farms, may be directed to export. And, a more recent news story even suggests that many in China believe that the farmers keep many of the better, safer products for their own consumption. What we are left with, as a result, is a system not only with significant problems, but also with severe distrust among those that it serves.

Attention to fixing these problems seems to be growing stronger lately, but unlike with CFDA, the proposed solutions do not appear to be agency reorganization or new legislation or regulations. For example, in December 2013, the State Council (China’s main executive body) issued a document calling for stronger supervision of agricultural product quality and safety by local governments, as well as more attention to implementing standards. But nowhere in the document did the State Council call for revision of the Agricultural Product Quality and Safety Law or any particular new laws. Indeed, a recent article in the Chinese press indicates that, while an amendment will eventually come, MOA feels more research needs to be done first.

This leaves us with more to ponder and some to watch. If MOA is really playing a lesser role, why? Is there a structural problem, such being caught between promotion of the agricultural economy and measures to control its safety? Or is it a problem of resources?

Perhaps it is a question of paying more attention to MOA. Will this increased public and government attention, at least on the policy level, lead to something more substantial in this area? The fact that we do not have answers to these questions means that it may be a good time to recognize and more closely follow MOA’s role in promoting food safety in China.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17" hits ho ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Ebola cases exceed 10,000: WHO
London, Oct 25 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO), in its latest report Saturday said the number of Ebola virus cases has exceeded 10,000, with 4,922 deaths.
 
 
Sundar Pichai to head key Google products, services
New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) Search engine giant Google in a reorganisation of its management has assigned Sundar Pichai the leadership of core Google products, technology magazine Recode reported.
 
 
Ocean circulation: a major factor in climate change
Washington, Oct 25 (IANS) It isn't just the atmosphere, but the circulation of the oceans plays an equally important role in regulating the Earth's climate, new research shows.
 
 
Pakistan hails UN for granting D-8 observer status
Islamabad, Oct 25 (IANS) Pakistan Saturday welcomed the UN's decision to grant observer status to the Developing-Eight (D-8) Organisation for Economic Cooperation.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Second MERS case reported in Qatar
Doha, Oct 23 (IANS) A 43-year-old man in Qatar has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second confirmed case of the deadly virus in 10 days, media reported Thursday. The patient had...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Two people die in Pakistan bomb blast
Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) At least two people were killed and 12 others injured in an explosion that took place in Pakistan's Balochistan province Thursday, media reported. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle, Dawn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Trott extends contract with Warwickshire till 2017
London, Oct 23 (IANS) England batsman Jonathan Trott, whose mental issues led to his abrupt departure from last winter's Ashes tour, has confirmed his successful comeback to competitive cricket by signing a new three-...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap big movers in BWF rankings
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Alvin Stardust dead
London, Oct 23 (IANS) English singer Alvin Stardust died after a short illness. He was 72. Stardust's manager confirmed the news about his demise Thursday, reports mirror.co.uk. He was recently diagnosed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian man reunited with family after 40 years
Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) An Indian man, who had disappeared from his hometown in Kerala nearly 40 years ago, has been found by his family at a hospital in Dubai in the UAE, a newspaper report said. Now in his 60s, Abdulla...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap, Saina rise in world rankings
Kala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest released Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Flintoff signs for Big Bash side Brisbane Heat
Brisbane, Oct 23 (IANS) Former England captain and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who retired from international cricket in 2009, Wednesday confirmed that he will play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) this...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price falls again
Vienna, Oct 23 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $81.94 a barrel Wednesday compared to $82.09 Tuesday, the OPEC Secretariat said. The new OPEC...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lopez to sign multi-million dollar deal?
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of securing a multi-million dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old is being offered $350,000 per show at The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla