Sunday, February 27, 2011

Combustible noodles burn consumer confidence

The latest food safety incident is a report of noodles that catch on fire due to flammable additives used in making them. An opinion piece in the Southern Daily News suggests that noodles that catch on fire are an apt metaphor for the Chinese population's general anxiety and frustration about food safety: he says that consumers' confidence in food has been burned as well.

"After the melamine crisis, leather milk, Sudan Red dye [in eggs], bleached mushrooms, who would dare to say that anything on the Chinese table is safe?"

The writer focuses on the lack of reliable information. "Since there is a lack of credible food safety information, the public has to rely on speculation and rumors about food safety...if information is not open, there can be no guarantee of food safety, the public lacks confidence."

"Food safety is no longer a trivial matter of peoples' livelihood; it is an important affair of the State."

"A cup of milk can make a nation strong and powerful. Similarly, milk with toxins or noodles that catch on fire can destroy the peoples’ confidence."

The writer moves on to connect the food safety crisis with the distancing of food from its natural forms. He suggests there is no need to fear the color, smell, and taste of plain "ecological" food. People can eat the basic "five grains" safely and stay healthy.

Food additives make food more beautiful and tasty, but they change the traditional flavor. Additives are abused by "black-hearted traders" who add toxic substances. "The public blames additives for public incidents of food safety."

He concedes that "food additives are the soul of the modern food additives themselves are not bad; the bad [thing] is the people who misuse them."

For "modern people," the writer acknowledges that "returning to the original ecology of food is not so simple." Food additives are here to stay. People in the food industry people must follow the law. Regulators have to use a full range of risk control.

"'Modern people' can regain trust on the food table."

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