Beverage Industry

China's Defense

July 1, 2007

China’s Defense

Elizabeth Fuhrman 
Managing EditorTwist on a classic pair

Amid reports of adulterated medication and other product safety issues, China has a long way to go to regain trust of its products in the world market. A fellow food and beverage editor I know won’t even eat or drink packaged products that have a “product of China” tag.
As a symbol that China is taking its food safety situation seriously, this month, the country executed its former head of State Food and Drug Administration, who served from 1997 to 2006. Zheng Xiaoyu was sentenced to death for approving at least six untested medicines that were fake in exchange for cash, according to Chinese government media reports. One of these false medicines is blamed for the deaths of at least 10 people.
Xiaoyu’s execution was uncommonly harsh, even for China, which is believed to perform more court-ordered executions than all other countries combined. Media reports indicate this is an example of the government’s firmness in confronting its product safety record.    
At a news conference to highlight Chinese efforts to improve food and drug safety, the government assured attendees of the 2008 Beijing Summer Games to expect safe meals. Chinese authorities also promised to investigate a Beijing Times report that more than half of the water coolers in Beijing used counterfeit branded water, and noted that a May inspection of Beijing’s drinking water products found more than 96 percent were safe.
Chinese officials have been working to tighten safety controls and close factories where illegal chemicals or other problems were found, but do acknowledge that the supervision of food and drug safety remains unsatisfactory and that the government has been slow to tackle the problem.
The government’s fallback: China is a developing country. It feels it has had a late start and deserves time to work on its problem. In today’s global economy, the question is whether the world has time to wait.
Instead of a slice of pizza and a beer, a home brewer incorporated the taste of pizza into a beer. Tomatoes, garlic, basil and oregano are all part of what Tom Seefurth dubs Mamma Mia Pizza Beer, the Chicago Tribune reported. The reddish-brown ale was created this spring in Seefurth’s garage brewery with help from Mike Rybinski, brewmaster at Walter Payton’s Roundhouse restaurant in Aurora, Ill. The final product was made with two kegs of canned tomatoes, 450 cloves of garlic and two pizzas — without cheese and oils — which were strained out of the final batch.
Fuel for dancing
Coffee enhancement STOK provides an additional 40-mg. caffeine boost when added to coffee and now fuels dancers. The brand has partnered with Norwegian pop group Datarock for the STOK Challenge, a national online dance-off competition. On the Web site GetStoked.com, consumers are able to enter a film of themselves and a partner getting down to the group’s track “Fa-Fa-Fa.” The top entries will be ranked and posted and the winner will receive a cash prize.
Coffee, unwrapped
The Food Network’s “Unwrapped” goes behind the scenes to explain the stories and manufacturing of America’s favorite foods. The show recently featured Java Juice liquid coffee essence. Java Juice, which has been popular in the outdoor industry, was “Unwrapped” as part of the show’s “On the Go” episode. The product is made with organic coffee beans and can be used to create a cup of coffee while camping as well as in recipes that include coffee, the company says.
Energy for fighting
Power Trip Beverages Inc. has joined forces with the International Fighting League’s John Gunderson. The energy drink company sponsored the fighter at his most recent victory held at the Las Vegas Hilton. Gunderson will wear the energy drink’s logo during events, and he says he drinks the products to fuel his workouts. Hard rock, cool drinks
Budweiser and Bud Light have released special-edition, collectible aluminum bottles for the summer’s 2007 Ambassadors of Rock Tour. The tour brings together Hard Rock Cafes, Hard Rock Live venues, as well as Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos around the world. The 16-ounce aluminum red Budweiser and blue Bud Light bottles feature the Hard Rock’s Ambassadors of Rock logo. The bottles will be available at concerts all over the world, and were featured at last month’s two-day Hyde Park Calling event in London, headlined by Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel and Crowded House.
Endurance run
To mark the national launch of sports drink Accelerade, Cadbury Schweppes placed a treadmill in Times Square for a 24-hour endurance run. On June 21, runner Dean Karnazes ran on a treadmill on a platform attached to the Reuters building in New York City for 24 hours. Karnazes raised $21,000 for the Athletes for a Cure charity. The brand featured a billboard, mile tracker and clock to track Karnazes’ progress. The run was also broadcast on accelerade.com.