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January 24, 2020

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Sacrificing his family meal for your safety

For 47-year-old food safety inspector Wang Wei, ensuring food safety on Chinese Lunar New Year’s Eve is more important than his own family reunion dinner.

Working on the eve of Spring Festival is routine for Wang, and his job is making food safety inspections as the head of a law enforcement team under the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation.

He is on 24-hour alert for food-poisoning cases requiring emergency handling. His jurisdiction is citywide.

“I need to rush to the scene immediately when receiving food safety emergency reports and my duty is to keep food dangers at bay,” said Wang.

Wang has been working as a food inspector in the city since 2005. He’s been busy since January 1 with intensive inspections of food markets ahead of the Spring Festival holiday.

Ingredients of half-cooked nianyefan (Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner), meat and dairy products, infant food, wine, cakes and seafood are particularly targeted, said Wang.

Venues such as large restaurants with nianyefan banquets, as well as supermarkets, canteens and markets are the focus of particular attention as well.

Wang is meticulous. Unsanitary food practices were found at the Xi Feng Lou Restaurant inside the MixC shopping mall in Minhang District by Wang and his colleagues on Tuesday.

Workers in the kitchen did not wear masks when preparing food, and tests also showed poor disinfection of dishware.

“I am ready to handle food safety emergencies anywhere, anytime,” he said, even though this means he can only eat a simple nianyefan with his own family. “Every post needs a person.”

Wang could not count how many inspections he has conducted or how many emergency cases he’s handled.

“The target is to reach the scene as quickly as possible no matter where I am and keep food-related emergencies under control,” he said.

Wang participated in the first and second China International Import Expo, where he took charge of food safety.

He did not return home for eight days before and during the event last year.

“But I am very delighted that Shanghai has better management over food safety year on year,” he said.

Shanghai authorities dealt with 8,177 food safety violations in 2019, 17 percent up from the previous year. Authorities received 28,621 complaints and 28,884 reports related to food safety last year, down 27 percent and 34 percent.


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