This article (in Chinese) points out with clearly that the concerns regarding falsified organic food remain and are a continued risk to the organic food brand.

Yet what is more important is finding a solution to this counterfeiting.
Since several prominent food scandals were uncovered in April, including dyed steamed bread and glow-in-the-dark pork, the government has launched a highly publicized battle against unsafe foods.  According to a recent Xinhua article, 4900 businesses have been shut down for illegal and unsafe food practices, and 2000 people have been arrested ( 

Impressive as these statistics are, they only hint at the depth of the food safety and regulation challenges.  Lack of transparency in the food supply system, coupled with the fragmented nature of the industry makes it difficult to track, and enforcement has been unable to keep pace with safety infringements.  One website, frustrated with the pace of action, launched a website tracking food safety issues throughout the country from 2004 to 2011 (

Now, with horror stories increasingly advertised through social media, the importance of increased transparency is becoming evident.  Video clips showing the nauseating illegal and unsafe food practices and ensuing crackdown were broadcast buses and on the national news channel CCTV-7 throughout the summer.  In addition, a very serious crackdown, including the possibility of death penalty for food safety violations shows the current focus and concern regarding the safety of the food supply (

Yet, the challenge is consistent long-term regulation.  Businessmen and profit seekers are surprisingly adaptable, and willing to conform to safety challenges for the short term, but just as willing to return to unsafe practices when the threats have subsided.  Take for example, clembuterol.  Meat purchasers commonly offer higher prices to farmers who have fed their cows or pigs the chemical, which makes meat leaner.  These meat purchasers are then able to soak the meat in liquids to make it heavier before sale.  During the World Expo, when the chemical was commonly tested for in meat, this offer of extra money stopped.  However, the pause was only temporary.

The idea behind organic farming is that the simplicity and lack of additional chemicals or additives authenticates the safety of the product.  Since nothing chemical is added, and since the food is inspected regularly, the consumer benefits from safe and healthy food as well as peace of mind.  The challenge is keeping this promise and authenticity in a still fragmented, rapidly growing, and relatively lucrative market space.

I found this Wall Street Journal article particularly interesting:

China's Counterfeiters Get Seedy: Perhaps it isn’t so surprising to hear reports of Chinese entrepreneurs recently knocking off Apple stores and Dairy Queen outlets. After all, counterfeit designer tote bags and pirated software have been available for years, not just in China, but in most parts of Asia.  Now, however, the so-called highest form of flattery appears to be extending to that most basic of commodities: crop seeds.

This shows the need for a seed bank, to protect farmers from buying what they do not expect.  This would also allow for production of certified organic seeds, to ensure that they follow the requirements and are naturally produced and free of chemical residues or alteration.