The Development of Food Safety in China versus the United States

A friend sent me a piece about tainted supplements in the United States, and one paragraph grabbed my attention.

The New York Times said, “In recent years, a vast majority of supplement suppliers have located overseas—principally in China. Nearly all of the vitamin C and many other supplements consumed in the United States are made from ingredients made in Chinese plants. Those plants are almost never inspected by the FDA because the agency is not required to do so, has little money to do so and does not view the plants as particularly risky.”

China has an agency that is similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) founded in 2003 as part of an effort in China to improve food safety. Today, there are about ten government departments and ministries under the State Council responsible for food safety in China.

Although China’s CFDA is relatively new compared to America’s FDA (est. 1906), China appears to be taking food safety seriously compared to weaknesses discovered in America’s FDA.

Evidence that China is serious about food safety appeared on July 10, 2007, when Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the CFDA was executed by lethal injection for taking bribes from various firms in exchange for state licenses related to product safety. When has the United States sent a corrupt FDA or corporate official to prison let alone executed someone convicted of corruption?

Until the 1906 Food and Drug Act, America did not have an FDA (FDA Early History), and recently the Union of Concerned Scientists revealed that hundreds of agency scientists had been pressured to approve drugs despite reservations about safety.

For instance, reported that in the U.S. Giant Food Corporations Work Hand-In-Glove With Corrupt Government Agencies to Dish Up Cheap, Unhealthy Food. “Multinational food, drink and alcohol companies are using strategies similar to those employed by the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies, health experts said on Tuesday.”

Then there was the New Harvard Study that revealed how we cannot trust the FDA with public safety. The study points out how the FDA, which supposedly must be in charge of public health and safety, is nothing more than a puppet for giant pharmaceutical and drug companies.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010” Awards


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7 Responses to The Development of Food Safety in China versus the United States

  1. I don’t trust any of the inspection services, there or here.

    • I don’t either, but I have that told friend of mine who is as far right as one can go who actually believes if we did away with all of the govenrment oversight, the food industry would police itself and everything would be better without the govenrment being involved. Several times I’ve suggested he read “The Bully Pulpit” and find out what it was like in the U.S. before government oversight, but he ignores me and tunes in to his favorite daily conservative talk show for another shot of propaganda to support his sick thinking.

      • Or any history. Or Sinclair Lewis. But let’s not let reality intrude on right wing fantasies. It takes my breath away.

      • If I had a choice, I’d by all my food directly from family farms with no corporations in between us. In fact, if I had the land and the time, I’d grow all my own food. But living on a hillside makes that really difficult. My wife has tried and the cost and effort compared to the results is not even close to equal. Plus squirrels eat a lot of the fruit. Most of it in fact.

      • We too live in hardscrabble farmland, but there ARE farms around here. Mostly dairy farms with a bit of corn and veggies on the side. We buy locally when we can, but it is seasonal. Fortunately, the local grocery stores buy and sell local produce when they can get it — and ALL the local farms are organic. They don’t use pesticides or fertilizer in the valley because we are the watershed and that stuff gets into the aquifer. NO ONE wants to poison their own water. The people who use that stuff are inevitably ignorant private homeowners who don’t realize their well is part a larger system which we all tap into. Ignorance is dangerous and being so rural, there’s nobody to keep an eye on who is using what and where.

      • Yes, ignorance is incredibly dangerous.

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