By Mark Godfrey, SeafoodSource contributing editor reporting from Beijing, China
02 April, 2012 - Despite a string of initiatives on food safety promised by Beijing policymakers, China’s latest seafood-safety mess looks worryingly familiar.
Shrimp injected with a translucent glue-like gelatin was initially spotted by a consumer in Tianjin in September 2009, whose blogging on the issue drew little national notice. However, when the same girl found the same gelatin-injected shrimp in a retail outlet in Xingtai Food Market in Tianjin in February 2012, she called a local journalist. Coming quickly after Chinese New Year, a peak season of seafood consumption and gift-giving, the resulting news story sent news crews from local media around the country into seafood markets nationwide.
In China, which has sanctioned the death penalty for food-safety violators, senior officials from the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) have already periodically appeared in the press this year to vow higher standards. However, the challenges to improving traceability and safety of local produce are obvious from visits to numerous supermarkets and wet markets in Beijing and Shanghai, where scant information or tracking data is available, in particular on wet product…