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Written by (作者): Alexandra Kobylchenko?
Photos by (图片来源): thinkprogress.org, prweb.com


 

Are you well informed about what you eat? How often do you notice colorful food or beverages in advertisements? Do you think they’re trustworthy? In just one month, Chinese companies spend millions of dollars on advertising. For example, their total expenditure on online advertising alone may go up to $43 million (270 million RMB). In October 2014, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the multinational Belgian-Brazilian company that owns brands such as Budweiser and Stella Artois, spent $4.45 million (27 million RMB) on online advertising in China. Web portals, online video platforms and clientside?venues are the top three ad placement channels for food and beverage companies. Dairy products companies also have to spend some cash to get their products advertised. Inner Mongolia Yili Group and China Mengniu Dairy Co. are ranked 2nd and 4th in the top 10 Chinese food and beverage companies. Each month, they spend around 8 million RMB and 11 million RMB respectively on advertising.

All this spending, or most of it, works to mask some hard truths that would otherwise hurt such companies. For example, adverts for Sanlu Group products depict a smiling mother with her charming toddler, which is understandable as it’s a milk company. What you may not know is this is the same company that was involved in the 2008 Chinese milk scandal. They produced milk and infant formula along with other food material and components that were adulterated with melamine, which is a chemical used as a fire-retardant additive in paints, plastics and paper, and is known to cause kidney stones if ingested. Since then, concerns over food safety among the population have tripled. Such food scandals are no news, and tend to happen on a yearly basis in the country. Fake rice made of plastic pellets, imitation eggs made of gelatin and decades-old frozen meat destined for the market are just some of the?most talked about scandals. Some of these scandals are wide-scale and happen with large as well as some local manufacturers, but it doesn’t mean they’re less dangerous. Something called “sewer” oil is an issue that was brought up by a professor from Wuhan Polytechnic University in 2010. He estimated?that one in 10 meals in China is cooked using recycled oil produced by recycling waste oil from restaurant fryers, sewer drains, grease traps and sometimes even using slaughterhouse waste. These raw materials are processed using a combination of filtration, boiling and refining at some illegal plants set up on someone’s property. Sounds really disgusting and gross, but sometimes people can really come up with shocking and desperate means to earn more money.

After reading about such incidents related to food safety, you may wonder why the government hasn’t taken any action. After five years of drafting, in 2009 China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing?Committee passed the first comprehensive Food Safety Law (FSL), which was revised in 2015. The newly revised law imposes stricter controls and supervision on food production and management. The new law brought hope that people’s trust in Chinese-made food products would see more stricter regulations. But not many are optimistic about this innovation. It is one thing to draft a law, but enforcing it?is not that simple. China is a huge country with countless farmers and businesses, so the burden of responsibility isn’t for the government alone. To be certain, the FSL will bring some changes but actual progress will certainly be a slow process.

So far Ningbo hasn’t yet been shaken by any big food safety incidents. I sometimes hear from friends that they come across outdated food in the supermarket or some fake oranges, but nothing as bad as the?2008 milk scandal. Food safety is one of the greatest concerns of the Ningbo Municipal Government. Because 75% of food comes from other cities, Ningbo took the lead in 2007 by building a system that traces the sources of food. The key to food safety is prevention, and that’s why Ningbo strengthened the controls and attempted to establish pre-warning mechanisms. In 2009, the city completed the establishment of China’s first information co-sharing system for urban food tests and checks, which integrates information from all related administrative departments and labs. Today, the system can trace the sources of 10 kinds of food, with milk and meat amongst them. Using this system you can easily find?information on the place of production, supplier, variety, transport and sales. Ningbo is the first city in China that releases regular reports of food safety and has set an example for other cities.

It is certainly possible to prevent a disaster. On a larger scale, the government and manufacturers are the ones that must take responsibility. On a smaller scale, we should rely only on ourselves. I’ve gotten into the habit of looking into windows as I pass by or to watch people when they think no one is watching them, and even though it may not be polite, I believe this habit saved me many times from getting food poisoning or eating unhygienic food. Maybe consider adapting one of these habits. I hope all of you will only find clean and safe food on your tables!

2013_04_15_FS PR CHINA A DEEPER LOOK

 

你对自己所吃的食物真的了解吗?你注意到色彩缤纷的食品或饮料广告的频率如何?你真的相信这些广告吗?仅仅在一个月内,中国企业的广告花费就高达数百万美元。线上广告的总支出可能达到4300万美元(2.7亿人民币)。2014年10月,一家收购了百威和时代啤酒的比利时-巴西合资企业在中国的线上广告费用达到445万美元(2700万人民币)。门户网站、在线视频平台和客户端是食品和饮料公司的三大广告投放渠道。乳制品公司也不得不花钱宣传自家的产品。在中国的10大食品和饮料公司中,伊利和蒙牛分别排名第二和第四。他们每个月的广告费用分别为约800万和1100万人民币。

三鹿集团的产品广告上是一个面带微笑的妈妈及其可爱的宝宝。这家公司在2008年卷入中国的奶制品丑闻。他们生产奶粉和婴儿配方食品的原料中掺杂了用来生产某类塑料制品的三聚氰胺。这种化学成分会导致肾结石。从那以后,人们对食品安全的关注度大大提升了。在中国,食品丑闻并不新鲜,几乎每年都有发生。塑料假米、人造鸡蛋、冷冻数十年僵尸肉流入市场——这还只是受关注度较高的几件。其中一些丑闻牵涉面很广,有大型制造商卷入其中,另一些是地方性的,只涉及少数小商家,但这并不意味着他们造成的危害就更小。2010年,武汉轻工大学的一位教授提出了所谓的地沟油问题。他估计,在中国,10顿饭菜中就有1顿是用地沟油烧的。地沟油是由回收的废油制成的。

这些废油来自餐厅煎锅、下水道、隔油池,有时甚至是屠宰场的废料,在某些人名下的违法工厂经过过滤、煮沸和精炼加工,摇身变成餐桌上的“食用油”。这种恶劣行径听起来确实令人作呕。有时,黑心商人发明的骇人听闻的赚钱手段简直让人震惊。

看了这种与食品安全相关的事件后,你或许会问政府为何不采取任何措施。花了五年时间起草后,中国人民代表大会常务委员会终于在2009年通过了第一部全面的《食品安全法》并于2015年重新修订了该法。新的修订法对食品生产和经营的控制和监管更为严格。政府希望通过新法重铸人们对中国制造的食品的信心。但是只有为数不多的人对此次革新持乐观态度。颁布法律是一回事,实施法律又是另一回事。中国是个大国,拥有数不胜数的农户和企业,所以不应该把此重任仅仅推给政府。《食品安全法》必然会带来一些变化,但是这个过程会比较漫长。

迄今为主,宁波还未发生大型的食品安全事件。有时,我会从朋友那里听说他们在超市里无意中发现了过期食品或假橙子,但是像2008年的奶粉事件那样严重的丑闻从未发生。保证食品安全也是宁波市政府的工作重点之一。由于75%的食品来自其他城市,宁波于2007年带头建立了一个食品溯源系统。食品安全的关键在于预防,为此宁波加强检测并努力建立预警机制,已于2009年建成了中国首个城市食品检验检测信息共享系统,整合了所有来自相关行政部门和实验室的信息。目前,该系统可以追踪包括奶制品和肉制品在内的10类食物的来源。通过这个系统,你可以轻易找到食品的生产地、供应商、品种以及运输和销售方面的信息。宁波是中国首个发布食品安全报告的城市,为其他城市树立了榜样。

可见,食品灾难是可以避免的。从大的层面上讲,政府和制造商应该承担起责任。而从小的层面上讲,我们必须依靠自己。我有一个怪癖,每次路过窗户时都喜欢朝里看,还喜欢在人们以为没人关注自己的时候观察他们,虽然这可能并不礼貌,但是我相信它曾让我多次避免食物中毒和饮食不洁。或许你也应该养成一个类似的习惯。愿你的餐桌上只有干净又安全的食物!


Bio

Alexandra Photo

Alexandra Kobylchenko is a 21-year-old student from Ukraine who was majoring in Chinese and English translation in her home country but wound up studying Chinese language at NBU. She fell in love with Ningbo and is currently studying International Business.

Alexandra Kobylchenko 是一个来自乌克兰的21 岁学生,曾在祖国主修中英文翻译,然后又到宁波大学学习中文。她很喜欢宁波这座城市,目前正就读于国际贸易专业。

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