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New alliance will bolster safety of food (2)

By Liu Jie  (China Daily)

10:21, June 26, 2012

Sanitation supply company Ecolab is the key initiator of the alliance, which pledged to make full use of its experience and professional know-how regarding food safety consulting and risk management to coordinate multiple sides of the food industry and help companies control and manage related risks.

China's food industry is highly competitive, with 97 percent of operators being private enterprises and multinational companies, according to statistics from CIFST.

"A food safety scandal will tarnish the reputation of a company and may lead to the collapse of the brand," said Su Menghe, CIFST president. "In addition to enhancing government supervision, self-discipline should be a top task that any responsible company must consistently and continuously insist upon if it is to survive and stand out amid the fierce competition."

Zhao Jinlin, secretary of Huiyuan, said that quality control should be consistent and strict and operators should impose rules for every employee to follow.

Huiyuan's campus is nearly 140 hectares. To guarantee the quality of its products, it operates a total smoking ban.

"We have clearly established that non-smoking on the campus is a basic requirement of working at Huiyuan. Zero tolerance. People can choose to stay here or go to another company," said Jin. "Some new employees found it difficult not smoking for eight hours at the beginning but, after a period of time, they became accustomed to the rule and obey it subconsciously.

"Food safety is a very serious problem closely linked with people's lives and health. At the same time, there is no need to panic," he said, explaining that there are differences between unsafe food and unhealthy food: The first harms people and the latter is not as healthy as the producers promise.

"Dairy products containing aflatoxin are a safety problem, while cheap powder and seasoning for noodle soup are a credibility issue. Although both of them should be punished, their nature is totally different," said Hu. "For food safety problems, criminal law can be applied. For corporate credibility scandals, serious, I mean serious, financial punishment is needed."

Feng Sumei, a 45-year-old Beijinger, said she is worried about the safety of food, having read about so many scandals over the years. "What I am concerned about most is the food that may be dangerous but has not yet been found out to be," she said, urging more critical punishment for food safety violators and greater dissemination of knowledge.

In addition to promoting food safety knowledge, sharing experiences and increasing self-discipline, the alliance will also reward outstanding companies every year. In the meantime, it said it is open to all companies and institutions that are willing to contribute to food safety and help realize the coordinated development of the nation's food industry.

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