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Food Drug Law J. 2011;66(3):405-15, ii.

A perspective on emerging law, consumer trust and social responsibility in China's food sector: the "bleaching" case study.

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UCLA School of Law, where he teaches Consumer Food Law and Policy, USA.


Trust underpins the Chinese social system, and yet it is lacking from a Chinese food system that is riddled with safety disasters and disgruntled consumers. Government and industry play a major role in rehabilitating consumer trust in China. To this end, food safety and quality laws have been constructed to foster this process; however, safety scandals continue even in the face of stricter regulations and increased enforcement. A potential toll to abate food-safety problems and to build trust is the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility ("CSR"). Mandates by the government promote CSR in enterprise activity, including Article 3 of the 2009 China Food Safety Law. Officials have also recently touted the need for "moral education" of operators in the food industry. Regardless of government activity or whether CSR is employed by food enterprises, it is imperative that the food industry recognizes how critical it is to establish trust with Chinese consumers, who increasingly expect safe, quality food. The case study with pistachios highlights this evolving consumer expectation and the principles of social responsibility in the framework of the relationship between government and industry and consumers, while demonstrating the benefits of doing the right thing for food companies doing business in China.

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