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Thorough probe of tanks needed to restore confidence: Editorial flash

By Zhang Zhouxiang | Updated: 2024-07-09 13:47
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Tanker trucks in China are in the spotlight after a Beijing News report exposed how they are transporting edible oil and chemicals alternatively without proper cleaning in between. Soon after emptying some coal-based oils and other chemicals, the drivers directly load edible soybean oil into their tanks for the next trip, thus increasing the risks of food contamination.

Worse than the fact is that some truck drivers told the journalist this risky manner in which tanks were being used to transport food and chemicals was an "open secret" in the industry.

Coal-based liquids contain components that are hazardous to human health and can lead to poisoning. The Food Safety Law clearly stipulates that containers, tools or equipment used for storing, transporting and handling food must be kept safe, harmless and clean to prevent food contamination.

It will not be right to only blame the tank truck drivers for this unlawful act. After all, it's not difficult to enforce the food safety law — the edible oil company needs to just conduct a simple check of the inside of the tank. However, this check is being overlooked, putting the health and lives of many at risk, without anyone taking any move until a journalist tried to stop them.

The transportation company, the edible oil company involved, and the local government agencies in charge of food safety all need to be thoroughly investigated to find out whose negligence is the worst.

Latest news said the China Grain Reserves Corporation (Sinograin), which was involved in the case, had asked its subsidiary oil companies to conduct investigations on July 2. Beginning July 5, a thorough special inspection has been launched across the system, while the Hebei Provincial Market Regulatory Bureau, where Hopefull Grain & Oil, another company involved in the case is located, responded by saying that they have been probing the case.

The move might mend some public trust that's lost but not all, as once lost public trust is hard to regain, especially in a case concerning the health, even lives, of the absolute majority of the population, as edible oil is almost a necessity in all domestic kitchens. Only by thoroughly investigating, completely rectifying problems, providing a satisfactory explanation to the public and adopting a preventive approach through process optimization in the future can trust lost in this incident be regained.


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