It has been six years since the very big tainted milk scandal was opened to the public and China hasn’t really recovered from it yet. After the big 2008 melamine in powdered milk incident happened, the Ministry of Health started checking almost every daily consumption product in China’s market starting with dairy products to meat to everything. What they saw didn’t help relieve China’s scandals; instead it gave lots of bad pressure to everyone instead. A many more number of food scandals have been found out in China, involving local and international companies alike. Until now, issues are rising with connection to food scandals in China, the most recent would be big international fast food chains like KFC and McDonald’s being accused of using rotten chicken meat in their China outlets. Would China still recover from these piles and piles of food and dairy scandals?
The bitter taste of China’s milk scandal
The very famous baby powdered milk scandal that took light days after the Beijing Olympics was one of the first and biggest scandals China went into.
It all started in August 2, days BEFORE the Olympics, when Fonterra Group, the world’s largest dairy products trader, went on a meeting with their Chinese partner Sanlu Group. There they discovered that Sanlu’s powdered milk contains melamine, a chemical used in producing plastics, and it was already making thousands of children and infants sick across the country. But due to the fast approaching Olympics, no one in China would like to open the issue since everyone was stated to report only “good, positive news” to focus light on the upcoming Olympics. This resulted to more infants and children getting sick and dying, with hundreds and thousands of children having found to be suffering from kidney stones and four died.
After the Olympics, the government officials did everything in their power to recall all Sanlu milk products, fining and putting into prison a lot of involved people in the issue, and started checking all milk products in the country, and discovering not only a few, but more than enough companies have traces of melamine in their products as well.
This gave light to checking more and more products afterwards, going through dairy products, feeds, chicken eggs, and a lot more.
Other food scandals to grace China
These are among the biggest food scandals to ever grace the Chinese food industry, although there are a lot more:
The dead pigs floating along the Huangpu River
Thousands of dead pigs floating along the Huangpu River were found in the early morning of March 2013. The river represents more than 20% of the water consumption supply of the population of Shanghai, which is the city with the largest population in China. The reason why there are floating dead pigs in the river? There were a lot of speculations, a lot of say-so’s, but the Chinese government never said anything about it, at all.
Nongfu Spring water
One of the distilled water manufacturers in China, Nongfu Spring, got into a scandal with its water even less healthy than tap water from China, which we know is greatly polluted. The company’s answer? Local norms of healthy water differ from the “normal norms.” Well then, good luck drinking water people.
Oil taken from the gutter outside restaurants or alongside roads was found to being produced and sold to many manufacturers and restaurants in China.
Poisoned ginger, exploding watermelons, formalin cabbage, fake mantou, and milk with nitrites… the list goes on.
Does this mean that Chinese are not eating, drinking, or supplying themselves with everyday needs anymore? Well, of course not. But, a lot of Chinese people are now conscious in choosing what they eat and drink every day. Consumers are now more into imported products made from different respectable countries around the world with most ordering online so that companies will import products to China.
Foreign brands entering China now have more advantages due to the fear and anxieties of the Chinese people. Foreign companies should use this opportunity to strengthen their product imports and sales by investing in digital and social media platforms in building a good image as a trustworthy brand.
If interested in entering the food industry of China or want to know how to promote your brand properly in the Chinese market contact us for more details.