China cracks down on food safety and regulations for imported food
Food safety is a critical issue for the food processing and manufacturing industry—when regulations are lax and problems seep through, the results can be damaging to public health and commerce alike.
China has a long history of wrestling with food safety problems. The country is still reeling from the impact of several major food safety scandals, involving everything from recycled oil schemes and worm-infest rice at retail outlets to manufacturers supplying fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC with rotten and contaminated meat.
Over the past year, China government officials have focused on ramping up enforcement of food safety laws. This week, at the start of the country’s 2015 National Food Safety Awareness Week, China announced that it will be strengthening enforcement of food safety regulations for imported food.
RELATED CONTENT: China Government Discusses Tightening Food Safety Laws
"The administration will further improve safety regulation of imported food by setting up risk management and assessment systems and improving a whole-process surveillance mechanism," said Lin Wei—director of the Imported Food Safety Bureau of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine—according to a report from China-based news source Yibada.
By more strictly enforcing these regulations, China aims to improve its overall food safety and build trust among China’s consumers.
This may not be the main focus of food safety crackdowns in China. After all, the biggest scandals in China involving food safety had nothing to do with imported food, but with food manufactured domestically within China’s own borders.
But while focusing on domestic food safety is critical, it doesn’t have to be the only focus for China’s government. Consumer trust in food safety is at a dire low point in China, and food safety improvements must be undertaken wherever possible.
It’s important to acknowledge the fact that China’s middle class continues to grow and the concept of disposable income is far more commonplace for a growing number of Chinese consumers. As this happens, neighboring countries will only be seeking to further their trade partnerships with China and increasing their efforts to export convenience foods and luxury goods into China.
As more and more goods are imported into China, it is important to maintain a strong level of inspection and quality control for the sake of public health. With improvements to China’s food safety laws and standards, the country intends to do just that.
New inclusive restaurant in New York, Contento
After a difficult year for the hospitality industry, a new New York restaurant, Contento, has raised the bar, by making it accessible to those with disabilities.
Contento beverage director, Yannick Benjamin, who uses a wheelchair, was tired of straining his neck each time he looked up at a customer. He and business partner George Gallego, who also uses a wheelchair, have designed a restaurant for people with disabilities to enjoy for a glass of wine or a night out, as the world gets back to normal.
Contento is a barrier free restaurant, inclusive of those with disabilities
Over the pandemic period, working from home has led to the evolution of hybrid working, an option which gives equal access to those with a disability.
Now as life gets back to normal, some hospitality businesses are adapting to make sure their buildings are inclusive.
Contento is a ‘barrier free restaurant’ where all customers are welcomed and catered for.
At Contento, half of the bar is low enough for people in wheelchairs to come up and order a drink, without the bartender looking down at them.
"There's a power dynamic that's quite annoying," said Benjamin. "I'm looking at [customers] and I've got to strain my neck."
But at Contento, customers who use a wheelchair can be eye-to-eye with Benjamin when they order. In addition:
- The space between tables is wide enough for wheelchairs to pass in between (which will also be useful for social distancing).
- Customers with visual impairments can scan a QR code on the menu, to have the menu read out loud to them.
The new normal is inclusive
15% of the world’s population lives with a disability. Each of these people deserve a seat at the table in their local bar.
"The key is that anyone who has a disability would be able to walk in here freely and comfortably," said Benjamin.
The world may be slowly getting back to normal, but for some, it will be even better.