China

Regulator: Food complaints double to half a million last year

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

China has ramped up its inspections recently
China has ramped up its inspections recently

Related tags: Food and drug administration

China’s food authorities received over half a million complaints in 2014—double the number that was lodged the previous year.

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) said last year saw 562,402 complaints and tip-offs about food, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, cosmetics and medical equipment.

Xinhua, China’s official news agency, quoted a CFDA official, Liu Pei, as saying that most complaints were about online sales of fake products, false advertising, unlicensed production and adverse reactions.

Around 74% of complaints were about food, while 6.3% related to dietary supplements.

Nearly 78% complaints were collected by the government’s whistleblower hotline, while websites, letters and personal visits accounted for the remainder, said Liu.

China has increased its food safety activity over the last two years in the face of widespread cases of adulteration, mislabelling and fraud.

In January, the CFDA promised to step up its “active regulation”, meaning that food companies now expect unannounced, on-site inspections, random tests and other actions.

"We must soberly recognise the current foundations of China's food and drug safety are still weak, with new and old risks together creating a grim situation​," the regulator said at the time.

Since the erstwhile State Food and Drug Administration was restructured to be more efficient and made a ministry-level department almost two years ago, regulators have broadcast plans to crack down on food safety several times, this this usually happens in response to the latest scandal. 

Liu said the complaints and tip-offs have become invaluable as a means to prompt investigations and deal with crime, with tip-offs leading to 57% of the major food and drug cases last year.

Related topics: Policy, East Asia, Food safety, China

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2 comments

Reply to Jon G.

Posted by FoodNavigator-Asia,

Hello there, and thanks for your comment. Over the last couple of years, the Chinese authorities have been encouraging whistleblowers to alert them over any nefarious practices they encounter. This is done mostly on a local level. Google "China food whistleblowers" for more background.

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Whistleblower Hotline?

Posted by Jon G.,

What is the Whistleblower Hotline? Can you post it or email it please.

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