One of the countries which have been rooted in food safety controversy over the last year is China. A total of 109 people died in the country because of food poisoning in the year 2013.
Although this number may seem high, it was actually an improvement from previous year. According to statistics this was 25.3 per cent decrease year-on-year, Chinese news agencies reported.
Over the last year food safety standards in the country have been improving with the National Health and Family Planning Commission reporting on Thursday that the number of people suffering from food poisoning last year fell by 16.8 percent to 5,559 cases.
Statistics also showed that the most number of food illnesses were cause by microbiological food poisoning. Poisonous animals and plants including mushrooms were also a major cause of food related deaths.
What is also interesting to note about China’s food poisoning history over the past year is that most cases of food poisoning and fatalities occurred at home and public dining halls where the places where most people fell ill.
The Chinese government has been cracking down on food safety and handling and called for stronger risk evaluations and prevention. Local food safety supervisors have also been urged to intensify monitoring of canteens in schools and work units, banquets in rural areas and agricultural markets. The Chinese have also improved their food poisoning prevention education among the public.
The Chinese are also cracking down on people who commit food safety atrocities. Recently 10,000 people were prosecuted over food safety breaches. And the government isn’t going easy on these people, some of whom received life sentences for their food safety breaches.
Between 2011 and 2013, the Chinese have prosecuted more than 10,000 people for producing and selling substandard and poisonous food, most them self-employed business people and farmers.
An article on www.upi.com explains more about the prosecutions:
Nie Jianhua, the director in charge of public prosecution for China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate, said Friday the problematic food was produced and sold in illegal workshops, factories and markets.
Among those prosecuted was a man named Liu Liguo, who sold over $16 million worth of “gutter oil” — a recycled oil made from oil found in gutters behind restaurants and inedible animal oil. It is dangerous if consumed.
Liu was sentenced to life in prison in 2013.
While this sentence may seem harsh, another article highlighted some of Liu’s crimes which included selling “gutter oil”.
Revealing about a prominent criminal offence concerning food safety, it was stated how a suspect named Liu Liguo sold 100 million yuan’s worth of “gutter oil” made from kitchen waste between December 2007 and July 2011. Some 9 million yuan worth of such unsafe oil entered the cooking oil market.
“Gutter oil” literally refers to recycled oil dredged from gutters behind restaurants as well as inedible animal oil. The oil, which contains carcinogenic substances, is dangerous if consumed.