Greenpeace China gets action on food safety

Feature Story - 2010-04-29
We’ve done it. After months and months of lobbying, Greenpeace China has got some big supermarkets in China to make some key promises on food safety. Let’s see what we’ve done.

Supermarkets in China need to stop selling fruit and vegetables with dangerous pesticide residues.

Several of the biggest food stores in China, and that includes domestic as well as overseas supermarkets, have promised to stop selling genetically-engineered food and food with dangerous levels of pesticides.

No mean feat in China.

Stopping the use of harmful pesticides and GE is a crucial leap towards food & environmental safety .

China shopper's guide

We are just publishing an updated supermarket guide (in English and Chinese) to help shoppers decide what is the best supermarket, in terms of food safety.

Until its release, these are the key wins.

1. Auchan (French-owned) said it will take action to ensure it does not sell any fresh GE unpacked vegetables, fruits and grain products in any of its China stores.

Also, it agreed to take action that would make sure that all fruit, vegetables and grain in its stores were not produced with pesticides from a list of banned chemicals.

The list it agreed to is the longest out of all the supermarkets in China that we pressured.

2. Carrefour (French-owned) was the first supermarket to agree to not sell GE produce and to ban certain pesticides.

3. Huapu (Chinese-owned) was the first Chinese supermarket to to commit to a non-GE policy and start to ban certain pesticides.

4. Nonggongshang  or NGS (Chinese-owned) promised that their own brand of rice would not be GE and is starting to make a plan to ban certain pesticides.

Once our shopper's guide is out you can see the commitments in an easy-to-read ranking and get more information on the kinds of pesticides they are banning and other promises to improve food safety checks in their supply chain.

How did we do it?

With the help of you, our supporters, and the media we pushed and pushed  supermarkets in China to take responsibility for the food they are selling to their customers.

We held press conferences, we made videos, we bought food and tested it again and again to show that supermarkets in China were selling dangerous food that was soaked in pesticides and was GE, and we published stories on the web to embarrass and push the stores to agree to our demands.

China is such a large country and it often struggles to enforce policy on a regional level.

While it's crucial local governments enforce food safety, the supermarkets not only have the responsibility not to sell us unsafe food but they also have the power to do so.

Moreover, some of them have such measures in place in other countries, so why not China?

We will continue to test and check, report and lobby, until we get every supermarket promising to sell us safe food free of pesticides and GE ingredients.

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We'll email you and let you know when the shopper's guide is out. It's all free!

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