China's food safety commission is set to investigate the reported use of fuel tanker trucks for transporting cooking oil, the state media reported. The revelation has sparked harsh criticism and raised fears of food contamination in a nation that numerous food and drug safety scandals have shaken in recent decades.

According to CNN, the scandal involves China's largest grain storage and transport company, Sinograin, and private conglomerate, Hopefull Grain and Oil Group. Both companies have said that investigations are underway.

The Beijing News, a local daily, reported last week that Sinograin's fuel tankers were discovered transporting food products such as cooking oil, soybean oil, and syrup without properly cleaning the tankers between shipments. In response to the allegations, the food safety commission will convene a special meeting with the National Development and Reform Commission, the State Administration of Grain and Reserves, and other ministries to discuss and investigate the matter, as reported by state broadcaster CCTV.

CCTV said, "Illegal enterprises and relevant responsible persons will be severely punished under the law and will not be tolerated."

Chinese food products have faced domestic and international scrutiny following a series of scandals, particularly the deadly milk scandal in 2008, where infant formula was found to contain the industrial chemical melamine. To improve food safety controls and reassure importers, Beijing has taken steps to address these issues, while some Chinese consumers have turned to foreign brands perceived as more trustworthy.

The Beijing News referred to the cooking oil issue as an "open secret" in the transport industry, and CCTV described it as "tantamount to poisoning."

Massive public outcry

On China's heavily censored social media platforms, many citizens called for product recalls and increased industry oversight. Some also seemed to connect the situation to broader issues in the country, where an economic downturn is fueling social frustration, and there are deep-rooted concerns about the lack of accountability for powerful and government-linked entities.

Despite improvements in living standards over recent decades, food safety remains an ongoing concern in China. Local media has reported dozens of high-profile scandals, prompting stricter government regulation.

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2024-07-10T08:07:39Z dg43tfdfdgfd