China’s Thoughts on “Horse Meat Selling by Hanging Cow’s Head”

Release time:

2019-10-21 16:48

Key words:

Core tip: The frequency, frequency, duration, and harm of food "unsafe" incidents in China are much higher than those in the EU. The author writes this article without the gloating mood of "it was nothing more than that". However, the European Union's scandal of "selling horse meat with a bull's head" is worthy of examination and reference by Chinese consumers and food supervision agencies.

In the New Year of the Snake, the food fraud with international influence did not happen in China but in Europe, where food safety regulation is the most stringent. This is the EU fraud scandal of "selling horse meat with bull's head" that most Chinese people already know a little bit about. The EU scandal was first exposed in Ireland in mid-January. At first, I thought it was the fraudulent actions of individual companies in individual countries. Unexpectedly, this incident quickly spread to all EU member states and aroused shock and confusion in global public opinion. As of the 16th of this month, 16 EU member states including Britain, France, and Germany have detected frozen beef noodles, beef sausages, beef patties, beef sauce, and beef burgers mixed with horse meat. The ingredients of some beef products are 100% horse meat. The expansion of the situation forced the EU Food Chain and Animal Health Standing Committee to approve the DNA sampling of all beef products in the EU on the 15th to ensure that consumers believe that the beef on the plate is indeed real. As of the 17th, the fraudulent source of "selling horse meat with a cow's head" is still limited to the EU, and the deceived consumers who buy horse meat as beef and eat it at home are also limited to the EU family. Chinese people can fully imagine what kind of public opinion storm would be triggered if "hanging cow heads and selling horse meat" happened in our country during the Spring Festival of the Year of the Snake. There is no doubt that the frequency, frequency, duration, and harm of food "unsafe" incidents in China are much higher than those in the European Union. The author writes this article without the gloating mood of "it's just that". However, the European Union’s scandal of “selling horse meat under the bull’s head” is worthy of examination and reference by Chinese consumers and food supervision agencies: First, greed is the inherent nature of capital. The reason why so many production and marketing companies are involved in the scandal of selling horsemeat is ultimately due to the greed of capital. The simple truth is that horse meat is cheaper than beef. If horse meat is adulterated in beef products, production and marketing companies can make considerable illegal profits. In this incident, pork was also detected in EU beef products. Capital greed is also at work! Whether it is the scandal of "selling horse meat with a cow's head", or the recent scandal over the quality of "Fonterra" milk powder in New Zealand ("Fonterra" milk powder accounts for half of China's imports of foreign milk powder), or even more European and American food quality scandals. All prove with irrefutable facts that the greedy nature of capital seeking profit is terrible, and there is no natural guarantee for food safety. The decisive force for food safety lies in the unremitting efforts of the whole society, including regulatory agencies. Second, the EU and its member states do not cover up, hide, defend, or block information about scandals. They face the scandal head-on, which has become the most effective crisis public relations. The EU's information disclosure approach has alleviated consumer panic and uneasiness to the greatest extent. This open mind is especially worthy of the China Food Supervision Agency Seriously reflect on and learn from it. Third, the food production and sales chain in the EU is very long, but the EU's emergency response is quick and the disposal process is quite methodical. This proves that the food production and marketing safety traceability framework system established by the EU can reflect the "curative effect" in the emergency process. In China, however, most food safety traceability framework systems are still blank. This shows that China's "catch-up" food safety supervision has a lot of shortcomings that need to be filled. Fourth, no matter how perfect the legal system is, it is difficult to ensure food safety by itself, and it is not enough to completely deter the greed of unscrupulous businessmen. Only by unremitting daily supervision can the probability of unsafety be minimized. So far, people have not heard of EU "problem beef" flowing into the Chinese market to entrap consumers. If our food supervision agency can benefit from the EU’s “selling horse meat with bull’s head” incident and improve its own prevention and control mechanism, then we will not “consumer eyeballs” for paying attention to this scandal in vain. (The author is the chief commentator of Shanghai "Oriental Morning Post" and a special commentator of this newspaper)

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