Chinese jittery about beverage safety

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Drink

Chinese jittery about beverage safety
A survey conducted by an online polling site in China has revealed that only one in five Chinese consumers trust the quality of bottled beverages.

China Youth Daily conducted the survey in collaboration with Sina.com and it polled a total of 1,290 respondents in the survey via an online questionnaire.

According to the results of the survey, almost all respondents (87%) cited illegal additives as their major concern when asked about their concerns relating to beverages sold in China.

In addition, almost 68% of the respondents said that they doubted the quality of dairy drinks being sold in the country.

China has been struggling with milk contamination scandals, the most notable being the melamine contamination in 2008, which hospitalized 54,000 children and killed four.

Levels of concern differ

The survey also revealed that almost 50% of all respondents felt that the quality of fruit and vegetable juices concerned them the most, whilst beverages made by stores and restaurants did not hold the same level of concern.

The study follows the recent spate of inspections across China, including a spot inspection this month, which found that six bottle brands contained excessive levels of carcinogen bromate.

The survey also found that 82% of respondents said that they had concerns that toxic and harmful additives were mixed into beverages because of poor production standards and quality control.

The good news for beverage makers with a market in China is that only 1.3% of all those surveyed never buy beverages, while almost four in ten consider themselves frequent buyers.

Higher concerns

Interestingly, the respondents said quality watchdogs in China are the main reason they are concerned about the safety issues of beverages, with 88% of them blaming the watchdogs for poor supervision.

Also, about 80% of those surveyed said that beverage processors are lacking in business ethics and not being truthful enough.

Food Navigator-Asia contacted the State Food and Drug Administration who refused to comment on the survey, adding that it was not in the position to comment on consumer surveys.

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