Food safety incidents review in recent years
Food safety is a growing concern in China, as increasingly more deadly scandals have been exposed to the public in recent years. People are asking why this happens time and again, and what can be done to effectively curb the problems.
This image showing a milk powder scandal shocked the nation in 2004. Hundreds of babies suffered malnourishment nationwide after drinking fake milk powder. Many developed "big head disease", where their heads appeared abnormally large compared to their bodies.
13 infants, mostly from poor rural families, died of malnutrition. The deaths sparked a nationwide call for stricter inspection of milk powder products. Government officials in charge of the case were punished.
In 2006, carcinogenic dye Sudan Red was found in duck eggs in Beijing markets. The salted eggs were produced by farmers in neighboring Hebei province. Farmers added the dye to the duck eggs to make their yolks look red, which is a sign they're more nutritious. The scandal triggered a nationwide checkup and a wave of recalls. It also scared customers away from all salted eggs on the market.
A milk safety scandal came into the spotlight again in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of infants were diagnosed with kidney stones after being fed with milk powder produced by Sanlu Group, one of China's largest dairy firms. Investigations found the company's products contained the toxic chemical melamine to increase the milk's protein levels. The scandal led to the Sanlu group going out of business, and the death sentence for two workers. It also pushed the authorities into tightening up supervision standards, adding melamine and other chemicals into the checklist.
A popular dish, a dangerous poison. More than 10 people in Nanjing in East China's Jiangsu province were poisoned after eating contaminated crayfish. Doctors believe some restaurants used excessive-chemical detergent to wash the crayfish, which can cause the breakdown of muscle fibers or even death. Health authorities have not yet confirmed a direct connection between the symptoms and the chemicals, but the case promoted stricter supervision of sanitation in the catering industry.