Imported foods blacklisted (2)

08:44, August 27, 2010      

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Wang Ying, a 25-year-old postgraduate student in Beijing, said that "I like to buy foreign organic food, although they are usually more expensive than homemade counterparts. And, buying imported products, which are always considered higher quality, can earn sufficient 'face' when you give them to your friends as gifts."

But a series of food scandals facing foreign brands has cast doubt over their reputations. A number of well-known companies, including Nestle and Kraft, were criticized for causing food safety scares in China.

In order to better ensure the quality of imported food, the AQSIO issued a regulation this July, stating that manufacturers should voluntarily recall substandard products in the Chinese market.

The regulation is widely seen as a move to tackle double standards by foreign food makers toward Chinese consumers.

The Guangzhou-based New Express reported that Nestle recalled its Nescaf Collections coffee (100g jars only), because the product might contain small pieces of glass, from the European market.

But the company refused Chinese consumers' requests for refunds or a recall, saying Chinese consumers are not entitled because the products were not available in the Chinese market. But some products were on sale on one of China's biggest shopping websites, the newspaper added.

Chen Min, a professor with the College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering of China Agricultural University, said that "not all the imported foods are better than ours. No country can secure food safety 100 percent. Consumers shouldn't be blinded when purchasing imported foods."

The US has been coping with an egg crisis. A total of 550 million eggs have been recalled for possible salmonella infection from 22 states since August 13, in what is being called the nation's largest food recall.

Dong Jinshi, a Beijing-based food safety expert, called on further strengthening of regulations, saying there are no effective regulations on the imported food market.

"We can't make sure that substandard products are returned or destroyed if we solely depend on the social responsibilities of manufacturers," he said.

Source: Global Times(By Guo Qiang)
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