From tainted green beans to toxic pet food, melamine in milk may only be the tip of the iceberg in China's recent food scare concerns. To address these problems, a new online traceability system for Chinese products and food ingredients is being launched to improve accountability and safety of the "Made in China brand" by providing information for food companies, consumers and regulators in the form of an electronic "online passport."
The web platform ChinaTrace is being developed by Oslo-based TraceTracker and the Shandong Institute of Standardization in China. According to TraceTracker's vice president of global development and strategy, Miodrag Mitic, the proposed system will allow users to query "passports" for supply-chain information such as:
• Where are Chinese made products and ingredients located in the supply chain?
• Where, when, and in what quantities were they produced?
• Which ingredients and processes were used to make them?
• Were they safely made? Did they comply with export regulations and buyer requirements?
• What specifications and quality assurance data is available for each of them?
• Where, when, and in what quantities were they shipped to/from?
"A subscriber to the ChinaTrace service with trade links to a company with safety or quality issues will be alerted electronically with relevant records provided by the company in question and/or the relevant public oversight agency," maintains Mitic. The ChinaTrace system will also interact with independent third-party verification service providers, as well as government agencies.
Though they are targeting for an overhaul of the Chinese dairy industry first, Mitic said that ChinaTrace intends to eventually provide traceability for all food and beverage products using Chinese-sourced ingredients: "It shall happen progressively, rather than in a big bang."
ChinaTrace via New Scientist
Related Links on Chinese Product Scares
Got Melamine? 53,000 Chinese Children Did - In Their Milk
Tainted Pet Food: We Could Be Next.
New venture aims to ensure safety of Chinese exports (Food Production Daily)
"Made in China" Wal-Mart Flip-Flops Give Chemical Burns (along with dozens of other reports)