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Buying Food Ingredients From China? Can You Trust That Info?

Buying Food Ingredients from China? Can You Trust that Info?


The ‘China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance’ just decided that 6 types of fish can now be classified as “salmon” when sold within China. Amazing but true.

According to the BBC, here is the background:

New rules introduced in China mean rainbow trout can now be labelled and sold domestically as salmon.

Why? Because a media report earlier this year caused a splash by revealing that rainbow trout had for years been labelled as the similar-looking fish.

Authorities decided that instead of banning the practice, the best solution would be to legitimise it.

Rainbow trout are freshwater fish whereas salmon are born in freshwater but then live much of their lives in saltwater.

The two species are outwardly different, but inside, both have reddish meat and closely resemble each other.

They’re so similar that in May, state media outlet CCTV revealed that a third of fish that had been sold as salmon in China was in fact rainbow trout from Qinghai province.

This is not new, actually.

A classic case happened 11 years ago in Hong Kong and resulted in general guidelines:

  • When products are sold to professional buyers, mention the scientific name
  • When products are sold in stores, do not mention a misleading common name

In China, they apply the opposite logic… They allow the industry to use a misleading common name.

What does this tell us about food ingredients sourced from China? Make sure to double-check what suppliers tell you…

Professional food buyers, and their quality teams, should challenge the designations communicated by their Chinese suppliers.

Here are a few examples:

  • If the supplier says “vegetable oil”, is it “corn oil”, “canola oil”…?
  • If a product name is “water”, ask if it is pure water (H2O) or if there are also minerals etc.
  • If a product name is “miso sauce”, make sure the primary ingredients (alcohol, salt…) are mentioned

From: qualityinspection

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