China Steps Up Surveillance Over Food Safety Ahead Of Olympic Games

SHANGHAI : Shanghai authorities are stepping up surveillance over the quality of food and service at its many restaurants in the city.

With the city staging some of the events of the upcoming Olympic Games, authorities are determined to ensure that standards are up to mark.

There are now food safety labels to help customers distinguish clean eateries in Shanghai.

“A green coloured (label) with a smiling face means good, a yellow expressionless face means okay, while a red crying face means bad. Customers know the hygiene condition as soon as they see these (labels). We noticed that smaller restaurants have a closer relationship with ordinary folks, so we’re targeting these smaller restaurants to improve hygiene conditions,” said Shen Wei Tao, Assistant Researcher, Shanghai Food and Drug Administration.

Having a red label is no laughing matter as owners can be fined or have their operating license revoked.

The pilot project was launched last year but the labels were only introduced last month. However it seems that people have yet to catch on to the safety labels.

“I’ve seen it at other eateries but I’m not sure what it means,” said one Chinese resident.

After a brief explanation, many said they will stop patronising a restaurant if they see a red face.

“I will be suspicious of the eatery (with a red label) because it means that they’re not clean,” said another Chinese resident.

China has been under the spotlight for its food safety scandals from fake baby milk formulas to toxic pet food, tarnishing the country’s international reputation. But authorities hope this new project will get the green light in helping to allay food safety fears, especially with thousands of tourists expected to visit during the Olympic games. – CNA /ls

Channel News Asia

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