Everyone’s got a camera: Shanghai edition

A new smartphone application released by the Chinese Food and Drug Administration means food safety issues can now be reported by uploading images straight to the app.

The center for complaints and reports of the FDA introduced the software recently to make such an operation easier. In the application, users can report five kinds of food safety issues including expired foods, inedible objects in foods, smoking in restaurants, food providers without certificates and unwanted promotion of health foods during business meetings or sightseeing trips.

After installing and signing up for the application, users can file a complaint by simply entering the name of the food vendor, the vendor’s address, the kind of food safety issue and the description of the problem. The user can complete the first three steps by entering text, or by submitting a photo or a GPS coordinate. A special procedure is set up for anonymous complainers, and their information will only be seen by personnel designated by the FDA.

According to the FDA, the application takes full advantage of the Internet and enables citizens to report infringements of food safety laws immediately and right at the place where the violation occurs. The software can provide important evidence for supervisors.


71 sick: Salmonella outbreak linked to Dim Sum chain in Shanghai

Results of test samples taken from a Hong Kong-style dim sum chain that was shut down last week over food safety concerns have found Salmonella to be present on some of the restaurant’s cakes.

Shanghai Daily reports that the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) ordered LIST to immediately shut down all nine of its chain restaurants, as well as its central kitchen.

This demand for hygiene testing came after customers who ate at the popular chain’s establishments complained of gastrointestinal discomfort after eating. 

At least 71 people suffered from food poisoning and received treatment at nearby hospitals. Most of the diners developed symptoms between July 16 and 18, though all are now said to have recovered. 

Further tests will be conducted on more food samples as the investigation continues, and SFDA has warned of “severe punishment” for the chain once the investigation is complete.



Thanksgiving leftovers? Ship them to Shanghai

Liu Renzhi of CCTV reports that authorities and some restaurants in Shanghai’s Putuo District have set up shared refrigerators in various public spaces. The refrigerators look to serve the disabled and elderly in getting free leftovers. The initiative also aims to reduce the amount of waste at restaurants.

sorenne-tedMr. Wang got some free cake from a community refrigerator this morning in Changshou compound. He says it’s convenient.

“I like this idea. I can’t walk normally due to a stroke. Now I don’t have to go far for food or spend too much thanks to the community refrigerator,” he said.

“The locals come as soon as we open at 8:30 am. Most of them are in their 70s or 80s,” said Peng Hongjun, volunteer, New Puxiong Community in Putuo District.

Suppliers put about 30 boxes of food in the refrigerator every time. They include half-cooked dishes, milk and cake. And more food is added in the afternoon. There’s no limit of how much food one person can get. The food is often all gone within ten minutes of the refrigerator opening in the morning.

thanksgiving-leftoversWang said they’re working with food safety authorities to ensure the hygiene and quality of the food. Volunteers also write down the names and contacts of those who take food in case there are any food safety issues.

Shanghai gets tough with lifetime bans for food-safety violators

Shanghai has announced it will hand out new penalties to food-safety violators, with some crimes even leading to life bands from the food industry.

The move is the result of a draft review by the Standing Committee of the city’s Municipal People’s Congress of local measures on safeguarding food safety.

The draft, which contains measures to implement the national law on food safety, urged “the strictest punishment” for violators.


Shanghai police to create city food safety detective team

City police are setting up a team of detectives dedicated to tackling food safety crimes, the annual session of the Shanghai People’s Congress has heard.

Under the control of the police bureau, the team will bring together law enforcement officers from government bodies and train new Shanghai.food.safepersonnel, said Bai Shaokang, vice mayor and director of Shanghai Public Security Bureau.

“We need a zero-tolerance attitude to food safety criminals,” Bai told legislators.

He said this will drive improvements in food safety management and help build a unified food safety network.

A total of 416 suspects in food safety cases were detained in 137 cases in Shanghai last year — up 49 percent on 2012, said Yan Zuqiang, director of the Shanghai Food Safety Office.

Lawmakers also raised their concerns on temporary stalls selling food and clothes, which can impede access to Metro entrances.

Authorities have decided to remove illegal food stalls near stations, turning the areas into public squares and locating toilets there, officials said.

The city government has tackled more than 2,700 cases of illegal stalls and restaurants in the last two years, but they remain a major problem.

Shanghai restaurant inspection notices to provide more info via smartphones

Shanghai’s food safety watchdog will, according to The Global Times, add two-dimensional barcodes to its ubiquitous restaurant inspection notices so diners can have more information about an eatery’s sanitary conditions, local media reported.

The barcodes, which can be scanned with a smartphone, will give diners access to a restaurant’s inspection records for the past year and discourage it from falsifying the shanghai.rest.inspect.notices.

Scanning the barcode will provide diners with information such as the date of the restaurant’s last inspection, a list of reasons why it failed an inspection and the identity of its food supplier, according to the Shanghai Morning Post.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration did not disclose when it will start updating the inspection notices.

The notices are known for their smiley face grading system. According to the three-tiered system, a green smiley face means a restaurant has exceeded inspection requirements. A yellow face means the restaurant passed the inspection and a red frowny face means it failed.

Restaurants are required to post the notices in a visible location so customers can easily scan the barcodes, according to the report.

The administration plans to launch its own smartphone application so diners can review a restaurant’s inspection results before they even set foot inside.

6,000 dead pigs in Chinese river raises questions on food safety

Pork buns and tap water may be off the menu in Shanghai, China’s biggest city with more than 23 million people, after thousands of dead pigs were found floating in the Huangpu River, which flows through the city, and in upstream tributaries. About 6,000 animals have been fished out so far in an imagesoperation that began last Friday, according to the Shanghai authorities, with more still surfacing, though at a slower pace.

The questions around the pig die-off — what caused it, why the animals were thrown into the river and by whom — are deeply disturbing Shanghai residents as well as others in China, and the Ministry of Agriculture has announced an investigation. City water authorities say the drinking water sourced in the Huangpu is safe, though one water sample showed traces of porcine circovirus, Xinhua, the state news agency reported, adding it can spread among pigs but not humans.

The surge in dumping of dead pigs — believed to be from swine farms in the upstream Jiaxing area of neighboring Zhejiang province — has followed police campaigns against the sale of pork products made from diseased pigs.

On Wednesday, a Zhejiang court sentenced 46 people to jail for producing unsafe pork from sick pigs that they had acquired and slaughtered between shanghai.pig.22010 and 2012.

The official Xinhua News Agency said police in the city of Wenling had seized 6,218 kilograms of diseased pork.

In another operation last year, police in Jiaxing broke up a gang that acquired and slaughtered diseased pigs. Provincial authorities said police arrested 12 suspects and confiscated nearly 12 tons of tainted pork.