Regaining Consumers’ Trust – Made in China

1 May

Trust is arguably the most vital word when it comes to doing a business. It is also crucial in forging a real and sustainable relationship. Currently as it stands, China seems to be losing it. Paradoxically, even the Chinese cannot seem to trust their own products. Confidence in local supplies have been lost. Over these few years, we have seen tainted products being manufactured. The label, ‘Made in China’ seems to give consumer a note of caution and thinking twice before actually buying it.

More recently, after the tainted milk powder affair, Chinese families are scouring the globe in search for powered baby milk formula and is said to ‘create shortage as far afield as the UK.’ (CNN reports) Perhaps mainly due to China’s one child policy, the single child is especially precious to a family and certainly parents will not be willing to risk the health of the baby, more so if it is a boy, perhaps. Especially after the 2008 incident when melamine tainted milk powder caused the increase demand of foreign supplies.

Melamine is commonly used in laminates, coatings, wood adhesives and even ceiling tiles. Such melamine tainted milk powder isproduced when the producers add them in deliberately in order to make it appear to contain a higher level of protein. It killed at least 6 innocent babies and hundreds of thousands to fall ill. There seems to be no quality control of any sort in China, one might observe, rather easily.

Baby formula, pigs, oil and iron ore — a seemingly disparate grouping — have one thing in common. These commodities are all in high demand from an insatiable and growing China. Judging from the number of Chinese that travels to Hong Kong just to buy milk powers demonstrates how much they trust the authorities when they apparently guaranteed the home supply is fine. The number of people buying up Hong Kong’s milk powder reserves got so bad that the government there just passed a two-can law saying no one could take more than 1.8 kilograms of it out of the country—but even after that, eight milk smugglers were arrested on the first day. The penalty for violation is harsh: HK$500,000 (US$64,515) and two years’ imprisonment.

Prominent economist He Qinglian stated in her latest commentary.

“The shortage of quality milk powder indeed reflects many of the big problems China is facing, like the government’s credibility, manufacturers’ reputations, environmental pollution and its effects on the food chain.”

Ironically as China develops to be the second global power, it cannot even satisfy the needs of its own mother for safe milk powder. China might take quite a while to regain the confidence of its people and of the world. To make matter worse, China tried to cover this incident since they are scared of social unrest if the news was made public. Perhaps what China needs is not milk powder, but more accountability, responsibility and morality. ‘Made in China’ should be a form of consumer assurance, not a consumer scare.


One Response to “Regaining Consumers’ Trust – Made in China”

  1. btdb1g10 May 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Following the tainted milk powder, another latest significant update announced by the China’s Public Security Minister today. Police in China discovered there is fake meat being sold in China. Rat, mink and fox meat are sold, being labelled as mutton.

    Since January this year, authorities have seized approximately 20,000 tonnes of illegal products and said to solved 382 cases of ‘meat-related’ crimes. It disturbingly entails the sale of toxic, diseased and counterfeit meat. A gang in China was said to have made more than £1 million by selling meats under the label of ‘mutton’ after treating them with chemicals and additives. The ministry was reported as saying the level of a bacteria, ‘E Coli’ in the counterfeit products ‘seriously exceeded standards.

    A suspect was arrested for selling mutton that had turned black and reeked of argriculture chemicals to a barbecue restaurant, killing one customer and poisoning a few others.

    In addition to other food products, China’s meat markets are riddled with food safety scares as well. In March in an incident the authorities have yet to fully explain where approximately 16,000 pig carcasses were dredged from a river in Shanghai, polluting its water.

    How much more can the people trust the food products in China really? Having spoken to a few of my Chinese friends, it is of no surprise that I was told that even the Chinese people themselves are wary of the food produced in China. The more wealthy ones are able to afford importing from abroad. The poorer, who forms the majority of the numbers, will ashamedly, be the innocent victims.

    For now, 904 suspects have been arrested for the meat related offences over the past three months. This meat scandal is just one of the many. Over the years, China has seen other food safety hazards like, exploding watermelons, cadmium-laced rice, fake eggs, salmonella-tainted seafood, recycled cooking oil and pesticide-soaked fruit. What China needs is strict regulations and laws that are actually obeyed and implemented.

    J. Kaiman, ‘China Arrests 900 in Fake Meat Scandal,’, 3rd May 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: