This article recently published by the People’s Daily emphasized how food safety regulators must be held accountable for their actions, especially when the falsify reports or omit information.
Recently, a collection of photos of shop workers in Dongguan walking barefoot all over baby flour, some even sleeping on piles of flour, circulated on the internet, and the food safety alarm sounded again. The media has frequently exposed other food safety issues, such as the melamine milk controversy, and then used these events as a reason to promote management and strengthen daily supervision of food operations. However, these campaigns are often very short-lived and never adequately address the problem.
In order to promote food safety, many provinces and cities have established a food safety “blacklist.” This blacklists more effectively targets and standardizes the operations of large enterprises, but has a less meaningful impact on smaller shops that may also be using illegal, unsafe practices. In addition to blacklists, more serious fines have been introduced as well as a blacklist of particularly notorious bosses who are banned for life from the food industry.
Beyond the food companies, distributors and restaurants themselves, the larger systemic problem lies in the hands of the enforcers and inspectors. In the past, many enforcers have not taken the initiative to address problems they notice. Instead, for many, as long as it is not exposed, as long as people are not killed as a result, they would just turn a blind eye. This attitude is dangerous, rewards lawbreakers and is dangerous to everyday people as unsanitary food reaches the table.