Date: Apr 08, 2010
Keller and Heckman Associate John Tan was quoted in the article, Product Contamination and the Food & Beverage Industry in China, which appeared in the March 10, 2010 issue of China Risks Watch newsletter. The article discusses different types of product contamination and how they can occur, and offers advice on how both to prevent product contamination and how to recover from a contamination incident.
In the section on how to prevent product contamination, Mr. Tan recommends that due diligence on supply chain partners is essential in the China market. "We have seen clients sign contracts to purchase food grade ingredients, only to discover that their supplier was only licensed to sell industrial grade material. This is one area where China's new regulatory systems can be used offensively, giving you the legal basis to require more information from potential suppliers," he states in the article.
The article suggests that companies can better response to contamination if they have developed a good relationship with relevant authorities at the local level, such as the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), and the Ministry of Health, State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). Addressing this recommendation, Mr. Tan states in the article, "I cannot overemphasise the importance of maintaining good relationships with the local regulatory authorities. The new Food Safety Law has recall provisions that are potentially very onerous, but which allow for a great deal of flexibility in enforcement. We have seen clients obtain very good outcomes in handling recalls based in large part on their management of the recall. Their relationships with local regulators were definitely a major part of their response."