“China to Offer Rewards for Food Safety Informers”

This might work… but I’d bet it’s more likely that it’ll just turn into a huge mess. Via China Digital Times:

“Government departments at all levels must set up dedicated funds for a reward system for reporting on food safety,” the official Xinhua news agency cited a government directive as saying.

Rewards will be paid out if investigations prove the veracity of the tip-offs, it added.

Those who work for people or companies which adulterate food products are especially encouraged to participate, the report said.

Governments must also make sure they protect the identities of the tipsters to prevent “revenge attacks,” and will punish those who slander others with false reports or provide false information to get the rewards, Xinhua added.

First off… this is pretty much the government throwing it’s hands up and saying it just can’t be bothered to do food safety the right way, isn’t it? But sure, crowdsourcing can be a good strategy. I think it runs into problems here considering how tightly money and power are wrapped around each other here. If a report of food adulteration comes in against an operation that has connections to people in the government, or to gangs which in turn have connections to people in the government, or against someone with enough money to bribe the inspectors to look the other way and maybe ‘accidentally’ drop the name of the rat at the same time… then we’re back at square one. And that’s not even getting into the potential for abuse here. Good luck.

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Filed under China, food safety, public health, regulations

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