Worries over food safety

Nearly 70 percent of China’s consumers feel insecure about food safety, according to the latest survey.

The “2010-2011 Consumer Food Confidence Report,” compiled by the Insight China Magazine and Tsinghua Media Survey Lab, found that more than half those interviewed think the country needs to work harder on food safety.

The nationwide survey questioned a total of 1,010 consumers.

Among 24 food categories, including bottled drinking water, seafood, vegetables and vegetable oil, Chinese consumers felt most unsafe about street food, followed by cooked meats, pickled vegetables and dairy products.

Consumers were most worried about meat from sick animals, the high level of pesticides, preservatives and coloring as well as poisonous chemicals such as melamine.

Chinese consumers believe in organic food, with 42 percent feeling safe and secure about such products.

Nearly 55 percent of those in the survey said they sometimes bought organic food and more than 16 percent said they often did. In contrast, 63 percent said they had worries about genetically modified food.

Most people questioned expressed concern about food companies’ and individual sellers’ lack of standards and the lack of government supervision and regulation.

“China has very advanced techniques to check and test chemical contamination and other additives in food but people are generally lacking awareness of the significance of food safety,” said Li Shichun, director of the Food Safety Law Studies Center of the China Law Society.