Food safety officials in the Chinese city of Shanghai have given their backing to a private food safety website that collates and spreads knowledge about food safety issues in the country.
According to reports from China, the Shanghai Food Safety Committee has promised assistance to the Zhichuchuangwai (ZCCW) website , which roughly translates as ‘Throw out the Window’.
Officials from the Shanghai Food Safety Committee visited Fudan University earlier this week to speak with the website’s founder Wu Heng, applauding him for his ‘social service’.
Food safety has become a growing concern in China in recent years, with thousands sickened and some killed after consuming tainted and counterfeit food products.
The manufacture and sale ‘fake’ pig ears is the latest scandal to hit the country.
The government has taken a zero tolerance approach to food crimes in recent years, sentencing violators to lengthy prison sentences in many cases and the death sentence in some.
Worst offending regions
Heng decided to create the website to fully expose food safety scandals in order to better inform the public about the country’s food safety situation and heighten public awareness.
Heng and 34 volunteers began building a database of relevant news about China’s food safety issues last year. They have since collected news sources and reports on food safety from as far back as 2004.
The website features a colour-coded map of China which highlights the worst offending regions year-on-year between 2004 and 2011.
Users can search through the collated reports by key word or region.
The developer included an ‘I’ll add’ option through which members of the public can upload latest the latest food safety news from China.
The website has gained such popularity that it crashed earlier this month, according to state media agency Xinhua.
‘Fake’ pig ears
Police in China are investigating the latest in China’s long list of food safety scandals after officials discovered the manufacture and sale of fake pig ears.
The ‘fake’ ears were discovered in a market in Ganzhou after a customer complained of a strange smell when cooking them, according to reports from China.
Food safety officials tested the products, finding that they were made from gelatin and sodium oleate, which is a chemical commonly used in the production of soap.
The investigation follows the latest in China’s long list of food safety scandals which involved retailers spraying cabbages with formaldehyde, a potentially harmful chemical.