As globalization continues to make the world a smaller place, and goods become more accessible across borders, concerns about food safety in the Asia-Pacific region have steadily risen over the years. An APEC forum is being held in Beijing, to find ways to better address the issue.
156 participants from 19 APEC economies and 4 non-APEC members attended the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum. Created 7 years ago, the forum has been actively looking for ways to strengthen food safety standards in the region, without hampering trade.
"As consumers are faced with more varieties of food, the potential food safety risk also becomes bigger. This forum has helped APEC economies to cooperate in supervision, exchange information, and improve the overall food safety standard in the Asia-Pacific," said Director of China's General Admin. of Quality Supervision Wu Qinghai.
For the first time the forum has brought together high-level regulators, academics, and industry stakeholders to talk about their respective roles in safety supervision. They say governments alone cannot shoulder this heavy duty.
In China, the chronic food safety problems have greatly hurt consumers’ confidence in domestic products. But as more turned to imports, the cracks in that also began to show. In July this year, more than 400 batches of food imports from 35 countries and regions were labeled substandard by the country’s top quality supervisor. Excessive additives and microbial contamination were among the main culprits.
Government regulators and industries have been brought closer by this forum. As foods move and more freely beyond borders, this forum is hoped to facilitate safety control cooperation, so APEC members can better benefit from the economic integration.