The images of China and the World Health Organization, WHO, has been tainted by the cover-up of the coronavirus crisis. The question is if other UN-agencies also might have lost the world’s trust following the Wuhan-Coronavirus?
Dr. Vincent Martin, Representative of FAO China, fails to mention Chinas history of domestic food scandals, which has caused consumers around the world to be wary. Food scandals in China include poisonous meats, counterfeit drugs and alcoholic drinks, soy sauce made from human hair, Sudan I red dye, contaminated exported wheat protein, school food poisoning, sewage used in tofu and contaminated baby formula amo.
Local consumers worry about safety from domestic brands and as Chinese food and ingredients are used globally this is an international concern.
The Wuhan-Coronavirus is the latest health scandal in China and domestic brands and production need to increase overall transparency to rebuild and maintain trust in its consumers both at home and worldwide.
The FAO-representative refer to the Covid-19 outbreak as a stark reminder of the significant risk of wild animal trading and mixing of animal species in local wet markets and the urgent need to tighten market access rules, impose stricter sanitation requirements, enable digitalized supervision and explore new channels of distribution.
It is the responsibility of FAO – as the only international organization overseeing all aspects of the food chain and thereby the only organization able to provide a unique 360-degree vision on food safety – to urge the Chinese authorities to strengthen the national food control regulatory frameworks, capacities and transparency, to support science-based food safety governance, enhance food safety management along the food chains, and develop food safety intelligence and foresight.
Unfortunately, it is doubtful that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, will put any pressure on China as long as the former vice-agricultural minister, Dongyu Qu, is the Director-General of the organization.