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中国进口食品真假难辨(二)
Identifying country-of-origin a challenge for shoppers avoiding foods from China

中国接连不断的食品安全丑闻导致加拿大消费者对中国进口食品避而远之,但是Bob Mok撰文表示,准确识别中国生产的进口食品并非易事。
Food safety scandals have left Canadian shoppers walking away from made-in-China foods altogether. But it is a challenge to accurately identify the country of origin for imported foods from China, says Bob Mok. 
 
下文是本专栏系列文章之一,读者欲参照前文可点击:
This article is the continuation of a previous one on the same subject. See link here:
 
 
 
网民一直在使用一种方法识别来自中国大陆以及其他国家的进口食品的原产国。他们建议查看食品包装上的条形码标签的前三位数字, 并参照网上提供的一张列表识别产品的原产国。这种方法理应有助于消费者识别及避免购买中国制造食品。为了验证这种方法是否真的准确有效,我前往一家华人食杂店做了一些调查。
 
On the internet, netizens are perpetuating a methodology for identifying foodstuffs coming from Mainland China and other countries. They suggested that by reading the first three digits of the barcodes, one can identify the country of origin through a listing obtainable from the Internet. This method is supposed to help consumers to identify and avoid purchasing foodstuffs produced in China. To verify if this method is indeed true and accurate, I went into a Chinese grocery store and did some checking.

 
我查看的食品分别来自中国大陆、台湾、韩国、香港、澳门、美国和加拿大。在被检查的25种食品中,只有11种,也就是不到一半的产品条形码数字与其原产国准确匹配。其中还有6种产品违反加拿大食品检验局(CFIA)的规定,未有标注“生产国”或“制造国”。
 
The items I inspected came from Mainland China, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, USA, and Canada. Of the twenty-five (25) items examined, only eleven (11) or less than half of them have the correct barcode digits matched to their countries of origin. A “product of country” or “made in country” declaration is missing from six (6) of the items contrary to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requirements.
 
 
在8种原产自中国大陆的进口食品中,只有4种产品可以通过条形码标签的前三位数字识别出原产国是中国。在4种台湾进口食品中,也只有2种产品可以通过明确的GS1条码数字识别原产国。正如前文所述,(全球统一标准的)前三位GS1前缀码只能确定生产商与之注册的GS1组织成员国,其未必是识别产品实际原产国的可靠指标。
Of the eight (8) items originating from Mainland China, only four (4) can be identified by the first 3 digits of the barcode as originating from China. Only two (2) of four (4) Taiwan products are identified with the correct GS1 barcode digits. As mentioned before, the first three digits of the (Global Standards one) GS1 Prefix only identify the national GS1 Member Organization to which the manufacturer is registered and it is not necessarily a reliable indicator of where the product is actually produced. 
 
 
在食品未有明确标注原产国时,消费者还可以尝试在产品包装上印制的说明中查找生产厂家地址(如果有的话)。但是由于许多食品的包装上也会标注经销代理商地址,因此切勿将二者混淆。这些进口食品的大部分经销代理商都位于加拿大或香港,相关公司的名称和地址通常都会跟在“imported by”、“distributed by”或“packaged by”等词的后面。
 
When a country of origin is not clearly stated, consumers can also try to locate the factory address (if available) in the printed area of the package. Do not confuse that with the distribution Agents’ addresses as they are also present on many packages. A majority of these agents are located either in Canada or Hong Kong. These company name and addresses are typically placed behind the words “imported by”, “distributed by”, or “packaged by”.

 
有经验的消费者在购物前肯定会花一些时间仔细阅读食品包装上的说明,以确认原产国。由于许多假冒产品会使用相似字符或发音类似的字符作为其自有品牌的名称,因此一定要记清相关品牌的名称,而不要只是简单地去记产品包装容器的形状、以及其设计和图案。在生产商故意模仿名牌以混淆视听的情况下,消费者很难迅速识别一些食品的原产国。
 
The educated consumers will have to spend some time reading the packages to arrive at a conclusion before they make their purchases. Remember the brand name accurately as many impersonating products will use similar characters or phonetically similar characters as their own brand name. Don’t just simply remember the shape of the container, its design and pattern. There is no easy way to quickly identify the country of origin for some foodstuffs when the manufacturer deliberately disguises it. 
 
 
记住一个小窍门,那就是中国大陆进口食品的售价要比来自其他地区的类似进口食品便宜。这一点在人们中秋节前购买月饼时体现得尤为明显。虽然一些来自中国大陆的月饼包装几乎和香港著名品牌一模一样,但巨大的差价却吸人眼球,令人过目难忘。那些对多年前爆出的中国生厂商回收下架月饼,并剥出其中的莲蓉馅用于来年再造新月饼的这一丑闻至今还记忆犹新的加国消费者们自然会对中国大陆制造的月饼避而远之。
 
One useful tip to remember is that Mainland products are sold at a price cheaper than similar products from other areas. This is particularly true when it comes to buying Mooncakes just prior to the middle-autumn festival. The packaging is almost identical to famous Hong Kong brands but the huge price differentials are eye-catching and you cannot possibly miss that. Consumer left Mainland produced mooncakes alone as they still remember the recycle schemes used years ago when unconsumed mooncakes were recollected and the lotus pastes inside were stripped out and reused in the following year’s production!
 
总而言之,由于相关登记系统内部存在固有缺陷,使用条码数字识别和确定进口食品是否来自中国大陆(或其他国家)并不可靠,因为这类注册公司可能只是在美国、加拿大或其他地方设立了一个办公室。
 
In summary, the use of the barcode digits to identify and determine if products are coming from Mainland China (or any other country) is not accurate due to the inherent weaknesses within the registration system. The registered company can be just an office address in United States, Canada, or anywhere else. 
 
消费者都希望能够“安心无虞”地购买食品。但中国想要重拾本国国民与其他国家民众对中国制造食品的信心并非易事。
 
Consumers want to have “peace of mind” when purchasing food items. China has a long way to go to re-establish confidence with its own citizens and others overseas when it comes to processed food items.
 

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