• Publication – English version of “Food Safety in China: Past, Present, and Future”

    by John Spink • May 3, 2017 • Blog • 0 Comments

    We are pleased to announce that the book “Food Safety in China: Science, Technology, Management and Regulation” – including our chapter on Food Fraud – is now published in English. This is not just a conversion of the words but a re-written translation of the full concepts. While our focus was on the Food Fraud content, I found myself reading the entire book and learning a lot. The book author team includes experts – from industry and government perspectives – on a WIDE range of Food Safety-related topics.

    In the 36 chapters there are 99 (!) co-authors. Many of the co-authors are leading their fields or their Chinese agency activities.

    The two editors are not only recognized thought leaders, but have often been THE leaders:

    • Junshi CHEN is a senior advisor at the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment. Dr. Chen is first academician from the food science and nutrition field in China, and the most respected scientist in these fields. He is also the official representative of China for the CODEX Alimentarius.”
    • Joseph J. JEN is the co-chair of the Food Safety Expert Panel of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFOST), chair of the Advisory Council of Bor S. Luh Food Safety Research Center, Shanghai Jaio Tong University, and the editor of Food Control. Dr. Jen was also a former undersecretary of US Department of Agriculture in charge of Research, Education and Economics.”

    See the previous blog post for details on the overall book and the projected impact on food safety in China. The link to the book is here:

    Specific items of interest:

    • Ch 3 Food Safety Education and Training Programs in China (features mentions of the MSU Master of Science in Food Safety Program as well as the MSU Food Fraud Initiative courses)
    • Ch 5 Food-borne Diseases and Surveillance
    • Ch 14 Veterinary Drug Residues in China
    • Ch 16 Food Fraud
    • Ch 19 Food Safety Risk Communication Practices and Exploration in China
    • Ch 20 Consumer Knowledge, Attitude and Behavior Towards Food Safety (The consumer perception and confidence is an especially important – and very unique – concern addressed in the Food Safety Law.)
    • Ch 21 Food Safety Laws and Regulations (There have been several new laws and this chapter provides insight on the future direction.)
    • Chapter24 Food Safety Regulatory Inspection in China (With the evolving focus on food safety – including the expanding and refining of laws – the inspections will shift in focus.)

    This book is an invaluable resource for anyone doing research or work in China.  FFI

    Publication – Book on Food Safety in China: Past, Present, and Future – Chapter on Food Fraud [published in China in Chinese]

    by John Spink • April 17, 2016 • Blog • 

    Dr. Spink with book editors Dr. Junshi Chen and Dr. Joseph Jwu-shan Jen

    This book was created by two of the top handful of Chinese food safety government advisors. Editor Dr. Joseph Jwu-shan Jen stated that this is a landmark publication that will establish the foundation for the state-of-the-art-of the science. They stated “It is the first comprehensive book that covers the many aspects of food safety… in China.” Editor Junshi Chen has been referred to as the “father of Food Safety in China.”

    Food Safety in China

    Dr. Chen specifically commented “It should be noted that there are still many food safety issues in China. Surveillance and the control of microbial foodborne illnesses are still weak. Food Fraud is quite common at present. Risk communication is facing great challenge. In order to improve the quality and safety of Chinese food products, emphasis should be put in safety assurance of the whole food chain by industry and seamless inspection and control by regulatory agencies.”

    The book covers the full range of Food Safety topics including mycotoxins, viruses, food borne illness and surveillance, pesticide residue, economic factors, veterinary medicines residue, packaging, traceability, and heavy metal contamination.

    Chapter on Food Fraud

    The author team for our chapter on Food Fraud was led by Dr. Yongning Wu, the Chief Science Officer of the Chinese National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA). The CFSA colleague included Laboratory Director Dr. Hong Miao. CFSA is leading the Chinese research on Food Fraud. The second author group was from the Beijing Center for Disease Control led by Director Bing Shao and Deputy Director Zhang Jing. We have been working together on a number of articles and have presented together at many conferences.

    Our chapter on Food Fraud leverages and builds upon our previous co-authored journal publications that are usually published in English with Chinese translations. A few highlights from our chapter on Food Fraud include:

      • History of Food Fraud in China – While we cover the more recent examples such as melamine in infant formula, many of these examples were new to me because many of the source documents are still only in Chinese. “Pliny the Elder” is a Roman philosopher and scientist who is often referred to as one of the earliest recorded mentions of Food Fraud-related concepts but he lived 23 to 70 AD. The earliest Chinese example of published regulation of the food trade was in “The Book of Rites” published in the Zhou Dynasty (1046 to 256 BC).
      • Investigation of Incidents – In the US there is a recent concern of Federal criminal prosecution for the business leaders rather than just penalties for the company. This incarceration pales in comparison to the “For serious cases of food fraud the law allows the extreme penalties including life imprisonment and the death penalty.” This achieves the goal of getting the attention of the fraudsters. Beyond the harsh penalties, the laws and enforcement activities reinforce a focus on prevention. The new Chinese Food Law and general activities are including a major focus on process control, not just product testing. Further research will be conducted on the 2015 Chinese Food Safety Law and in relation to the nation’s 13th Five-Year Plan.
      • Prevention – Co-author Dr. Wu has been a Food Fraud research collaborator so it is logical that the scope and prevention focus is similar to the concepts generally globally accepted. I find that the Chinese government has a very practical and direct approach to addressing Food Fraud. They are focusing broadly on all frauds – with a priority on adulterant-substances and counterfeits that lead to health hazards – and moving to the focus on prevention versus detection. The Chinese economic growth has been maintained for so long at such a high rate that their market inherently has many unique and quickly evolving Food Safety and Food Fraud challenges. With a population 4x the USA – and just about the exact same size – there are even more challenges from the density of the population and necessary length of the supply chains.

    As with our other collaborations, writing this chapter was a great experience from the standpoint of understanding the science, but more importantly, for getting to know each other better. When we edit a paper back-and-forth in Chinese and English (I don’t read Chinese), we create an opportunity to find where we might not understand each other. The scientific method is to identify a hypothesis and then test it. We applied the scientific method to the underlying concepts and also to our communication efficiency.

    Evolving Challenge

    Chinese Food Safety focus is on improving the safety and quality of food products in China. The Chinese economic and social growth plans are so immense that their food security (safe, nutritious and continuous supply of food transported a lot farther) challenges are also immense. The 12th and 13th Five-Year plans have focused on economic growth through urbanization from about 40% of the population to 70% and now doubling the annual income of all citizens. Think, about that. Over a five or ten year period half of all – ALL – the people in China will move from the country to cities. I visited Urumqi, a city that doubled from 1 million in 1990 to 2 million in 2008 and then reportedly doubled again to 4 million in 2014. To use US cities as an example, that is growing from Louisville to Pittsburgh to Seattle. Urumqi wouldn’t even crack the top 20 largest cities in China. The scale and coordination of the activities is mind-boggling. With those urbanization plans China is also planning to double the annual income. Granted, the base annual incomes were lower but for 1 billion people this is incredible growth.

    These Chinese economic growth plans provide context for understanding the incredible challenges for food, Food Safety, and Food Fraud in China. These all demonstrate the importance of this new book. If you do not read Chinese we will continue to develop bilingual resources. We will also continue to share our insight in our blog and other publications. JWS.


    Wu, Yongning; Miao, Hong; Bing, Shao; Jing, Zhang, & Spink, John (2016). Chapter: Food Fraud, in Food Safety in China: Past, Present, and Future, Editors Chen Junshi and Joseph Jwu-shan Jen, Popular Science Press, China Science and Technology Press, Beijing, ISBN: 978-7-5046-7061-8, Code: 787504-670618, URL: www.cspbooks.com.cn

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