Table of Content

    30 January 2018, Volume 9 Issue 1 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    2018, 9 (1):  0. 
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    From Soil Pollution to “Cadmium Rice” to Public Health Impacts: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Influencing Factors and Possible Responses
    Jennifer HOLDAWAY, WANG Wuyi
    2018, 9 (1):  1-12.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.001
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    This article discusses the causes of the contamination of rice with cadmium in China and considers what we know about the severity of the problem. It argues that it is misleading to extrapolate simply from levels of cadmium in soil to health risks, because the uptake of cadmium by crops and the health impacts of the metal are affected by multiple factors. These include not only background levels of cadmium and pollution from mining and industry, but also soil quality, climatic conditions and the type and variety of crops grown. Social and cultural factors, including dietary habits, other exposure sources, nutritional quality and general health status will also affect the intake of cadmium and the severity of health impacts. For these reasons we argue that interdisciplinary analysis is crucial to a better understanding of patterns of risk to health from cadmium pollution, and to the design of effective responsive measures.
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    Geographical Environment for the Safe Production of Food
    WANG Li, XU Yuefeng, KONG Chang, MENG Min, WANG Wuyi
    2018, 9 (1):  13-21.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.002
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    Food is essential for human survival, but harmful, toxic substances in food damage and threaten human health. Food production is inseparable from the place where the food is produced; that is, from the geographical environment that consists of natural and human environments, two parts of a unified whole. China’s territory is vast and its geographical environment is complex and diverse. Food production patterns in different parts of the country vary significantly, as do local socio-economic and cultural conditions. Such differences have an enormous impact on food safety. Based on the geographical area where food is produced in China, this paper reveals the main environmental problems arising from industrial and agricultural production activities, and related risks for food safety and health. In concluding, we make some recommendations for countermeasures. The main food safety related environmental problems include the excessive application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides; high background levels of heavy metals; discharge of wastewater and heavy metals; and excessive use of additives and antibiotics in livestock and poultry breeding and aquatic products. All these issues can lead to huge risks for food safety and thus health. These are not simply scientific issues, but also political, economic and legal issues, as well as social problems that differ from region to region. Therefore, comprehensive studies are needed to identify risks to food safety and health hazards in different areas. Systematic and comprehensive risk assessments of health problems caused by changing ecosystems, environmental pollution, nutrition problems and lifestyle, and especially comprehensive risk assessments of regional environmental changes and health risks are needed. Measures based on an understanding of local conditions must be put forward to protect food safety and health, to strengthen multi-sectoral management, and to improve environmental quality
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    Research Articles
    Big Data Resource Planning for Food Safety: a Preliminary Exploration of the “Environment, Food and Health” Information Chain
    XIAO Gexin, YANG Bing, LI Wei
    2018, 9 (1):  22-27.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.003
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    Environmental pollution, food safety and health are closely linked. A key challenge in addressing the problem of food safety and protecting public health is building an integrated knowledge base to inform policy and strengthen governance. This requires breaking down the trans-departmental information barrier across the environment, food and health domains to ensure the effective flow of data and the efficient utilization of resources, and facilitate the collaborative governance of food safety. Achieving this will be crucial for the development of health and medical care in China in the era of big data. Currently, the information resources commanded by various departments are incomplete and fragmented. Data resources are also organized in vertical silos and there is a lack of data sharing within and across policy streams. To provide the basis for more effective integrated collection and analysis of data in future, this study summarizes the information resources of various departments whose work relates to interactions between environment, food and health, and presents measures to strengthen top-down design, and establish unified data standards and a big data sharing platform. It also points to the need for increased training of data analysts with interdisciplinary expertise.
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    The Total Diet Study: Changes in Food Safety Since the First TDS
    LI Xiaowei, LYU Bing
    2018, 9 (1):  28-38.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.004
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    This article discusses what we know about some of the main food safety risks in China. The focus is on role of the China Total Diet Study (TDS) as a tool for food safety risk assessment and the selection of priorities for monitoring. We compare the strengths and weaknesses of the TDS with those of two other major sources of information about food safety and nutrition: the National Food Safety Contamination Monitoring Network (FSCN) and the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), showing how the different methods they use produce different but complementary information. We then use an analysis of lead, cadmium and pesticide residues to demonstrate that, despite its shortcomings, the TDS provides the most reliable source of information about the actual dietary intake of harmful substances.
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    China’s Food Safety Institutional Reform: Evaluation Issues
    WANG Shuangshuang, ZHANG Lei, HU Zhen
    2018, 9 (1):  39-49.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.005
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    China’s compartmentalized food safety supervision and administration system has long been blamed for recurring food safety incidents. In response, the State Council launched a major institutional reform that aimed to realize whole-chain-based food safety supervision and administration, to strengthen grassroots capacity and to adapt to a society that is complex, risk prone, open and pluralistic. According to the State Council’s mandate, the institutional restructuring at various local levels should have been completed by the end of 2013. However, there have been no systematic, open evaluations that have examined progress, effectiveness or effects. This study attempts to explore issues concerning evaluation of the institutional reform: how to understand the role of evaluation in the policy cycle? What are important evaluation questions in different phases of the policy cycle? How to identify evaluation priorities? Specifically, a target group effectiveness evaluation framework was established and applied in Guangzhou city to assess how local government departments responded to the three principal mandates of the State Council’s reforms: integration of mechanisms and functions, integration of resources, and the enhancement of regulatory capability. The results show that such an evaluation framework is a valid way to examine the main goals and components of the reform, but that the indicators and evaluation criteria need be made more context-specific.
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    Zero Growth of Chemical Fertilizer and Pesticide Use:China’s Objectives, Progress and Challenges
    JIN Shuqin, ZHOU Fang
    2018, 9 (1):  50-58.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.006
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    In 2015 China’s Ministry of Agriculture introduced two Actions that seek to achieve zero growth in the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides by 2020. Success in reaching these targets will help control agricultural non-point source pollution, increase cost efficiency, energy conservation and emission reductions, help to ensure the safety and quality of the national grain supply and agricultural products and the safety of the ecological environment, and realize the sustainable development of agriculture. However, successful implementation will be crucial. This article considers the main contents of the Actions and analyzes their feasibility from the perspectives of policy formulation, local practices, technical support and achievements. We identify problems and challenges and suggest that zero growth of chemical fertilizer and pesticide use can be achieved by undertaking basic research on the factors that shape the use of farm chemicals, making improvements to the monitoring and statistical system for chemical fertilizer and pesticide use, setting up demonstration projects and enhancing policies formulated to reduce chemical fertilizer and pesticide use.
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    Pesticide-related Food Safety Risks: Farmers’ Self-protective Behavior and Food Safety Social Co-governance
    FANG Jing, LIU Yanfang
    2018, 9 (1):  59-65.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.007
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    This article investigates the sources of vegetables consumed by farmers, their perception of pesticide-related food safety risks and the behaviors they engage in to protect themselves, and explores the implications for the social co-governance (shehui gongzhi) of food safety emphasized by China’s recent Food Safety Law. The research site is a county in Yunnan Province where vegetable growing is the major source of income and livelihood for local farmers. We surveyed 417 farmers and collected 776 vegetable samples from 377 surveyed farmer households and tested them for organophosphate and carbamate pesticide residues using PR-12N Rapid Detection Instrument for Pesticide Residues. The results showed that farmers know about the risks to food safety caused by pesticides used in vegetable growing and they purposely avoid these risks by mainly consuming vegetables planted in home gardens or private plots that use little or no pesticides. Vegetable samples from these private plots had the lowest positive rate of pesticide residues (6.10%), compared with vegetable samples from commercial farmland (13.73%) and markets (12.66%), and the difference was statistically significant (X2=9.69,0.005<P<0.010). This implies that the efforts of farmers to protect themselves from pesticide-related food safety risks do have some effect; however, the effect is limited due to the environmental pollution caused by the massive use of pesticides in commercial vegetable growing. Furthermore, this self-protective behavior may have a negative impact on the social co-governance of food safety set out in the new Food Safety Law.
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    Public Participation in Rural Environmental Governance around the Water Source of Xiqin Water Works in Fujian
    SU Shipeng, LI Xin, HUANG Ansheng, SUN Xiaoxia
    2018, 9 (1):  66-77.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.008
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    Public participation is an important way to improve the overall effect and social recognition of rural environmental governance in water source areas. Public participation makes environmental governance measures more targeted and effective, contributes to protecting the basic environmental rights of the public, and makes it easier to meet the livelihood needs of rural people. Public participation in rural environmental governance in water source areas is characterized by complex behavior and is dependent on public willingness to participate. Amongst other factors, it is subject to the combined influences of both internal (psychological cognition) and external (environmental regulation) conditions. This paper builds a theoretical framework for understanding public participation behavior in rural environmental governance, and uses it to analyze a case in the rural area surrounding the Xiqin Water Works in Fujian Province. In the case study, the public shows high willingness to participate, but low actual rates of participation. At the same time, the willingness of villagers to pay for the control of pollution from livestock and poultry breeding varies greatly from village to village, and there are also noticeable individual differences in public participation in the use of public collection points for rural household waste. We found that gender, understandings of environmental protection and perception of environmental regulation, play a key role in influencing the willingness of farmers to pay for the control of pollution from livestock and poultry breeding. Individual awareness of environmental protection, environmental protection facility conditions, and environmental service quality had a significant influence on public participation in the use of public collection points for rural household waste.
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    Farmers’ Dual Roles in Food Safety:Perceptions and Countermeasures
    WANG Xianxia, ZHANG Yunxi
    2018, 9 (1):  78-84.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.009
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    Farmers are both the producers and consumers of food, and as such have a dual role in food safety: they both generate risks and are exposed to them. Based upon a survey of the food production and consumption habits of 140 farm households and long-term research in two villages in Yunnan province, this study found that rural families are highly dependent on the market for food production and consumption. In their role as consumers, farmers are aware of food safety risks and concerned about them, but their ability to protect themselves is limited. They do so primarily by avoiding certain products and growing as much of their own food as possible. At the same time, in their role as producers, farmers engage in practices, primarily the overuse and inappropriate use of fertilizer and pesticides, that are damaging to food safety and the environment. There is therefore a disconnect in their roles as consumers and producers that needs to be addressed if policy goals for improving food safety and reducing the use of agricultural chemicals are to be achieved. Farmers need more information about food safety risks related to the products they consume themselves, and technical guidance on the safe use of farm chemicals when growing food for market. However, such measures will not be effective unless the external pressures on farmers are also addressed, through consideration of market incentives to use farm chemicals and the impact of consumer demand.
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    Heavy Metal Concentrations in Rice from Guangzhou and Associated Health Risks
    CHEN Nengchang, ZHANG Xiaoxia, ZHENG Yuji
    2018, 9 (1):  85-91.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.010
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    In recent years, excessive levels of cadmium (Cd) in rice have been a focus of attention of the government, the public and scientists. In Guangzhou rice is a staple food for most citizens and understanding the level of Cd and other heavy metals in rice is important for food safety and health. Consumers in different income groups purchase rice from various sources at different prices but we know little about the relationship between price and safety. At the same time, the presence of zinc (Zn) can also affect the level of risk from Cd in rice and so affect food safety. This study offers a preliminary exploration of interactions between price, safety and nutritional quality. 125 rice samples were collected from markets and from the homes of high-income, middle-income and low-income groups in Guangzhou city, and were tested for the content of Cd and Zn. The results showed that 25.6% of the rice samples contained Cd in excess of the national standard, with higher levels of Cd in Indica rice than in Japonica. At the same time, we designed a questionnaire survey for groups with different incomes to assess their exposure to risks from rice with Cd and their perceptions and sources of information about risks. The survey showed that, as a whole, the low-income group faces higher risks from rice with Cd, and that there is strong public demand for scientific information about Cd in rice.
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    Governance Logic and Basic Systems of the New “Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China”: a Focus on Social Co-Governance
    WANG Xu
    2018, 9 (1):  92-102.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.011
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    To modernize food safety governance, we must carry out basic restructuring of its internal logic at the national level to reflect the features of contemporary Chinese society that shape food safety. This will entail establishing an overarching, macro-level conception of food safety that integrates “baseline safety”, “hub safety”, “co-constructed safety” and “endogenous safety”. These four dimensions of safety represent four fundamental requirements of food safety governance in modern Chinese society, which is a “risk society” (Beck 1992) and one that is also complex, open and pluralist. These requirements are: maximum legal liability, a unified, authoritative and efficient supervision system, a concept of social co-governance, and enterprises being the primary entities accountable for food safety. This article uses this analytical framework to interpret the basic contents of the newly revised Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China, and uses a focus on social co-governance to present the institutional highlights of this law and the transformation of the internal logic of food safety governance.
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    Review of the “Law of the People’s Republic of China on Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products”
    SUN Juanjuan
    2018, 9 (1):  106-113.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.012
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    One of the characteristics of food safety regulation in China is the separation of agricultural food products (agro-food) from other kinds of food. To this end, a Law on Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products (LQSAP) was enacted to provide for official control at the stage of primary agro-food production. With the enactment and revision of the Food Safety Law, one change in the legislative arrangement is the extension of the scope of this new law to cover the marketing of agro-food and the use of agricultural inputs. However, safety regulation at the stage of primary production of agro-food is still subject to the Law on Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products. It is also important to note that thee LQSAP refers both to agro-food and to agricultural products for non-human consumption; and that it provides rules both for safety assurance and for quality promotion. In the context of intensified official control to ensure food safety and diverse consumer needs for food of higher quality, a revision of the Law on Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products has been initiated. This article describes the goals of this legislation, its institutional arrangements and the directions the revisions are taking in order to provide a better understanding of food safety regulation in China in general and agro-food regulation in particular.
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    Introducing of Editoriaol Board Member
    WU Wenliang,Editorial Board Member
    2018, 9 (1):  114-114. 
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