“There is simply no way the Chinese government can have control” of food and product safety, the Food and Drug Administration told a congressional subcommittee on Thursday, October 11.
David Nelson, one of the FDA investigators who just returned from China, described to the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee “hundreds of millions of farmers” in China producing food on tiny plots, some no bigger than a basketball court.
A long series of product safety scandals rocked China and other nations, since last December. The lesson for the West certainly is, “Trust, But Verify.”
We consulted with a manufacturing process and quality specialist with experience in China who told us: “I found it impossible to get companies in China to acknowledge that foreign customers needed to exert some control over the process and thus the product. The Chinese just would not listen. Now they are reaping the result.”
The process engineer finished with this: “It is quite impossible for any Chinese official to guarantee anything in China because of the lack of control that the government has and the lack of standards we take for granted in the West.”
We have commented on this in The Washington Times and elsewhere several times since the food and product safety crisis from China erupted on the scene last December.
Not only does Beijing lack the ability to fully and properly regulate the countryside in its sprawling land mass, the problem is compounded by a culture of corruption.
Local party bosses won’t enforce the rules if a small bribe suddenly becomes available.
China’s central government, unable to enforce the rules, frequently lies to the international media to cover up their problems.
On June 12, 2007, with the food safety scandal roiling, China’s Vice Minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China said, “We can guarantee food safety.”
He knew that was simply not the case because on August 4, 2007, the official China news agency Xinhua quoted the deputy head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Hui Lusheng, as saying “Dealing with and preventing food safety risks is a long-term, arduous and complicated project.”
The bottom line is this: with China, it is buyer beware.