Blog: Dean BestEU, WHO turn spotlight on China

Dean Best | 13 September 2007

China got a pat on the back and a clip round the earhole as WHO and EU officials voiced their views on food safety in the country.

As we all know, China has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks with scares over contaminated petfood, seafood and other agricultural products.

The country’s economic miracle is in grave danger from the hammering its reputation around the world; the “Made in China” brand could soon be seen as something less than reliable to say the least.

Toxic toothpaste, poisonous pet food and tyres that explode whilst on the road – these are just some of the products produced by Chinese companies that have grabbed the attention in the last few months.

That said, by all accounts, the Chinese government is taking urgent steps to improve safety standards and improve its image in the eyes of the world’s consumers.

It was very interesting to hear the views of the WHO and EU on the subject in Beijing yesterday. There was the WHO, seemingly excusing China of its food safety record, insisting that the country is not alone in requiring improvements to its food safety system. The WHO said it was “very happy” that the issue is high on the government agenda.

The EU, however, took a far firmer stance, warning of trade restrictions should China not shape up. European Commissioner for Health Markos Kyprianou acknowledged the steps China is taking to improve safety standards but insisted: “What is important is the actual results.”

The world is watching.


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