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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Want Safe Food – Move to China?

China has a population of 1,321,851,888, the United States has 301,139,947. In the United States the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 76 million foodborne illness cases occur in the United States every year. That is one in four Americans becoming ill after eating foods contaminated with such pathogens as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter, Shigella, Norovirus, and Listeria. On an annual basis in the United States, approximately 325,000 people are hospitalized with a diagnosis of food poisoning, and 5,000 die.

I know, I know, your thinking Bill is going to talk about his trip last year to China, again. OK, just the facts. Despite have a population over four times ours, China appears to have done what the United States fails to do – make the food supply the “safest in the world.”

According to reports in the Xinhua News service:

The number of reported food poisoning cases in China fell to 177 from the end of August to the end of December, 15.3 percent down from the same period a year earlier, the Ministry of Health said Monday. The number of people affected by food poisoning dropped 40 percent to 4,047 over the past four months, the ministry said in a teleconference on catering safety. It attributed the decline to a nationwide campaign initiated in August on catering sector food safety.

Reuters also weighed in:

China declared on Monday that its four-month campaign to ensure food and product safety had been a total success, with all goals being met months before Beijing hosts the Olympics…. Deputy quality watchdog chief Pu Changcheng was quoted as saying:

"The tasks of the rectification campaign have been fulfilled completely and its objectives have all been reached," Pu told a news conference.

"The illegal practice of using non-food materials and or recycled food to produce and process food has been basically eliminated. The illegal practice of abusing food additives such as preservatives and coloring has been effectively held back."

They really must have been paying attention when I spoke at last year’s Beijing Food Safety Conference. I’m surprised they invited me back.

  • kevin rayner

    “It attributed the decline to a nationwide campaign initiated in August on catering sector food safety.”
    Yeah, couldn’t possibly be a ban or reporting incidents could it, as the Chinese are well known for their freedom of speech??????

  • I was hoping you would make it to the Seattle blawgers’ meeting tonight because I wanted to ask you whether this was tongue in cheek or not. Was it?

  • Bix

    “rectification campaign”

  • bill

    China Law Blog – sorry I missed the merry blogger meeting. On the China Syndrome – 171 illnesses in China out of 1.3 billion people when we poison 1/4 of our population yearly. The Chinese either really get food safety, or are really bad at math.