China’s Ministry of Agriculture announced new measures today to combat food safety scares. In recent years, concern over China’s food safety has mounted, surging in 2008 with the melamine-tainted milk incident. Here, workers from the Sanlu Group milk processing center added melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastic cookware, to watered down milk to increase its protein content’actions that resulted in the death of six children and illness in some 300,000 more. Since this incident, the Chinese government has disclosed incidents of melamine also being added to animal feed’contaminating milk, meat and egg products.
In the new series of campaigns targeting food safety violations announced today, the Ministry of Agriculture is focusing on excessive pesticide use in vegetables, and toxic additives in pig feed, farmed fish, and dairy products which persists today despite the widespread public outrage stemming from the 2008 incident. As China strives to meet growing demand for agricultural products both at home and abroad, it’s clear that more and more companies are engaging in dubious practices to boost production. Perhaps as consumer anger mounts over China’s murky food safety standards, so too will demand for community supported agriculture in the country. As farmers establish relationships with their communities, and produce food on a smaller scale, higher quality food will be virtually guaranteed.