Sunday, November 6, 2011


In a desperate move to improve its track record in safeguarding the health of its citizens from food fraudsters, China is mulling over the possibility of introducing a reward system for whistle blowers who report about food adulteration and fraud. How far such an "informer" system will help to reduce the the impact of the highly profitable food adulteration industry will have to be seen. With mafias and thugs firmly entrenched having linkage with powerful bureaucrats and administrators, those willing to expose them will naturally think twice fearing about their own personal safety. Nevertheless the Chinese experiment is worth watching. 

"In a latest effort to safeguard food safety, China has ordered local authorities to launch a system to reward those who provide information on food safety irregularities. In a statement issued Thursday, the Food Safety Commission under the State Council, or Cabinet, requested local governments to offer rewards to people who provide useful information in helping to protect food safety. Information on the adding of banned materials and abuse of food additives during plant cultivation, animal raising and food production will be rewarded, the commission said. Rewards will also be handed out to people who give tips on the purchase, processing and selling of birds and livestock that die of illness, as well as on the production and sale of fake food products, it added. The commission said higher rewards will be offered to those who provide information on the underground businesses involved in producing, selling or use of illegal additives or making fake and inferior food products".

In India there is a system of rewarding those who give information about smuggling and tax evasion which probably made some small impact and could not be called a success because of the dangers involved for the lives of informers. The present RTI Act also has brought out the risks involved in ferreting out vital and crucial information locked up in government offices that provides security to the corrupt people. Several RTI activists have been murdered by vested interests as there is no protection to the whistle blowers under any constitutional provision.  In China also the reward system is unlikely to be of any significance unless the identity of the informer is protected by the state.


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