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Faking it: Food quality in China

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Ross, K (2012) Faking it: Food quality in China. International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, 8 (2). pp. 33-54. ISSN 1823-6243

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Official URL: http://ijaps.usm.my/

Abstract

This article begins by examining the power of milk as a symbol of modernity par
excellence. Scholars have noted how milk came to occupy this position in the
west. In China, the dairy industry has experienced a dramatic expansion due to
government support and investment as well as an influx of foreign companies
since the late 1980s. During this process, milk has taken its place as a symbolic
marker of a modern scientific and urbanised Chinese life. The melamine milk
scandal of 2008, however, disturbs and unsettles these images of modernity in a
number of key ways. The scandal revealed deep structral and regulatory
problems with what had been declared one of China's safest model industries only
months before the adulteration problem was revealed. Most troublingly, similar
issues can be found in food and medicine production across China. Indeed, fake
food and fake medicine, along with poisonous air and water, rank as major
concerns for Chinese citizens. This article shows how this concern extends beyond
China's borders through the global supply chain. Mass deaths in other countries
have resulted from poor quality Chinese food products. Meanwhile. Chinese
govemment attempts at increasing regulation and quality standards appear to be
inadequate for dealing with this ubiquitous problem. This article proposes that an
exploration of how "quality" (suzhi) is understood in China is necesswy for
understanding the underpinning of Chinese regulatory efforts as well for making
sense of the discussion in China on why these efforts are failing.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: China, food safety, suzhi, quality in China, milk
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies
Page Range: pp. 33-54
ISSN: 1823-6243
Additional Information:

Copyright 2012 Pcnerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia

Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2013 05:15
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 01:06
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