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Moon cake exports face int'l barriers

(People's Daily Online)

14:36, September 09, 2011

Edited and Translated by Liu Xiaoning, People's Daily Online

As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, moon cakes sales are starting to pick-up, yet the export of Cantonese moon cakes continue to face tough challenges, such as restrictions from foreign countries on moon cake imports and food additives, Guangzhou export officials said.

As of Sept .8, a total of 1,500 tons of moon cake valued at 11 million U.S. dollars had been exported to oversea countries. Although the export volume of moon cakes increased compared to last year, the growth rate has obliviously slowed.

Guangdong province is renowned for its Cantonese moon cake, which is known for its high quality and unique flavor, and that is why it is one of the biggest moon cake manufacturing bases and an important export center. However, for years, moon cake export has been subject to the "green dam" set up by many countries to limit the entry of Chinese moon cakes into their markets.

In recent years, mailed moon cakes have been prohibited in some countries, such as France, Germany, Thailand and Sweden. This year, this list was expanded to 33 countries. In addition, more than 30 countries have strict regulations regarding the importing of moon cakes or place rigid limitations on food additives. Some of the small and mid-sized moon cake manufacturers are facing the tough task of finding ways to export their products because they cannot meet the rigid requirements imposed by some foreign countries.

Affected by the significant increase in raw material costs, wages increases and other factors, moon cake production costs have risen sharply, drastically shrinking the profit margins of export enterprises.

In order to improve the moon cake imports, some experts suggested that the industry should explore new development methods of moon cake production in line with modern Western food nutrition standards. At the same time, they call for the establishment of industrial standards for the sector.

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PD User at 2011-09-10114.160.71.*
When I was a child, our country imported some of the best food in the world from China. That was the time when China was practising natural organic farming with no chemical. The food and produce was wholesome and I benefited.Not much can be said about food in China today. The main problem is the fact that everyone is now in the economic bandwagon to the detriment of the people. PetrolChina, Basf, Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, etc are all pushing their products in China. Farmers seeking higher yield and better looking crops will use anything regardless of the toxicity of their produce. My uncle, who knew, warned not to eat lychee and mango from Thailand. The chemical residue is so toxic and powerful such that it will even eat through the intestines.One should see this as a wakeup call for China to institute new laws and procedures to ensure food safety to protect all its citizens once and for all. As a case in point, I have great difficulty in deciding where and what to eat daily, everywhere inside China, looking into the food safety, hygiene and ethical business practices aspects beside worrying on the water quality. It appears that even the people in China do not trust their food outlets any more. That is why McDonalds and Kentucky are doing very well inside China even though Chinese food is the best tasting. It is not a question of good to eat, rather it is hygiene and food safety.There are many many people involved in the food production and supply chain that have created a runaway problem. Basf has an approved project to produce farm chemicals by the local government in Chongqing. Just imagine the toxic substances that will eventually emerged in the drinking water in Shanghai. Even Beijing will not be spared when the South-North water diversion project is completed. Illegal disposal of toxic chromium, which will eventually moved to the Pearl River, was uncovered. This is just one. There are many more toxic types that do go to the Pearl River water supply every day.Food safety and safe water is a top priority in China. China can address this problem quickly by looking into the enforcement, procedures and standards from the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. If this is one problem that can be reversed quite immediately, why not do it now. This issue is more important than trade imbalance, GDP or high-income. This is a national security issue because a billion people is systematically poisoned. National defence is also defending the health of all the citizens. In this case, the invisible enemies are the many unscrupulous people that includes the manufacturers, the local government officials, the farmers, the chemical retailers all those in the food and water businesses.
  

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