Chinese Food Standards
Recently I posted comments supporting the campaign for Australian-produced food based on the safety and health standards of imported food from China, Thailand, Iran, Spain, the Philippines, India, Egypt, South Africa and Vietnam.
Some of you thought it reeked of protectionism.
But the Chinese food scandals continue thick and fast. The most recent is “gutter oil”, used for cooking in restaurants. The term refers to recycled cooking oil. It is retrieved from drains – yes, drains – where dumped by restaurants after use in cooking. Apparently it floats to the surface of other waste fluids. Chemicals are added to disguise the smell. These can contain carcinogens and toxic mould. Xinhua, the government’s news agency, called gutter oil “the most nerve-jittery problem of late” in respect of food safety.
Thirty-two people were arrested in September for producing the oil. Ninety tonnes of it were seized in 14 provinces. An estimated two million tonnes of the liquid are consumed annually by unwitting customers. This is said to be equivalent to about one-10th of the total used by restaurants.
Until the Chinese government succeeds in hauling its standards up to those of the West, the precautionary principle would dictate that one not consume foods made in China. Or, when travelling there, not to eat in roadside establishments where noodles and pork may have been slow-cooked in flavoursome oil scooped out of gutters and – yum, yum – leavened with tasty carcinogens.