‘Sun­shine Cater­ing’ for Safer Food

Bei­jing car­ries out a project of “Sun­shine Cater­ing” to give greater im­pe­tus to food ser­vice busi­nesses to im­prove food safety.

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Liu Xian­shu Edited by Roger Brad­shaw

In re­cent days, Bei­jing’s “Sun­shine Cater­ing” Project has drawn in more restau­rants, with big screens at the en­trance that give cus­tomers a real-time look at how the food is pre­pared, how the plates are washed, and how chefs work in the kitchen. Cus­tomers can get a peek at ev­ery­thing in the kitchen with­out even en­ter­ing the restau­rant. All they have to do is open a “Sun­shine Cater­ing” app on their phone to check at any time what the kitchen is ac­tu­ally in­volved in, to be as­sured of the qual­ity.

Th­ese changes are the re­sult of Bei­jing’s “Sun­shine Cater­ing” Project, a ma­jor ef­fort to im­prove peo­ple’s lives in 2017. In a short time, it has turned into a sys­tem­atic “6-in-1” ef­fort where busi­ness own­ers take the ba­sic re­spon­si­bil­ity, with co­op­er­a­tion across-the-board by con­sumers, on­line food sites, trade as­so­ci­a­tions, third-party eval­u­a­tion agen­cies and news me­dia in eval­u­at­ing the var­i­ous restau­rants. Ac­cord­ing to the plan, grad­u­ally, restau­rant kitchens will be no longer a “staff only” place, and will be more open to su­per­vi­sion.

Ways to Im­prove Su­per­vi­sion

Duan Zhiy­ong, head su­per­vi­sor of the Bei­jing Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cater­ing ser­vice depart­ment, ex­plains that the “Sun­shine Cater­ing” Project in­volves five parts—trans­par­ent In­for­ma­tion, a Trans­par­ent Process, Trans­par­ent Eval­u­a­tions, Trans­par­ent Man­age­ment and Trans­par­ent Penal­ties—which, when com­bined, open food safety, food pro­cess­ing, eval­u­a­tions and food safety man­age­ment to the pub­lic for su­per­vi­sion.

The “Trans­par­ent In­for­ma­tion” refers to food ser­vice busi­nesses mak­ing food safety in­for­ma­tion more open, while “Trans­par­ent Process” refers to peo­ple be­ing able to check the food prepa­ra­tion process via three chan­nels—a glass wall, kitchen videos and screens, and a com­bi­na­tion of cam­eras, net­works and smart phone apps. “Trans­par­ent Eval­u­a­tion” means en­cour­ag­ing con­sumers to give their own eval­u­a­tion of cater­ers, while “Trans­par­ent Man­age­ment” refers to food ser­vice busi­nesses tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity, dis­ci­plin­ing them­selves bet­ter, and pro­vid­ing man­age­ment that is more ef­fi­cient, fairer and more open. The “Trans­par­ent Pun­ish­ment” means hav­ing author­i­ties pub­li­cise their work, in­spec­tions, and rel­e­vant penal­ties in the food ser­vice busi­ness.

Af­ter the “Sun­shine Cater­ing” Project be­gan, there have been 21,842 can­teens in pri­mary and mid­dle schools, nurs­eries and kinder­gartens, and nurs­ing fa­cil­i­ties for the aged meet­ing the Project stan­dards, as well as 53 “Sun­shine Cater­ing” demon­stra­tion streets (blocks) set up.

Food Safety through Open Kitchens

One part of the “Sun­shine Cater­ing” Project that has got­ten a lot of in­ter­est is the “Trans­parency” part, where more

than 1,500 restau­rants have taken the ini­tia­tive to make their kitchens more vis­i­ble in on­line food or­der­ing, for trans­par­ent food prepa­ra­tion.

Duan has ex­plained that the new “see- through kitchens” are places that used to be closed to cus­tomers but are now more open and pub­lic, for greater trans­parency. This is mainly done in two ways, one, with kitchens with glass win­dows or walls where cus­tomers get a clear view of food prepa­ra­tion, and the other via kitchen video, or cam­eras over­see­ing the food prepa­ra­tion site to show the food prepa­ra­tion process via screen or mo­bile app. The sec­ond of th­ese is the best way to achieve trans­parency.

None­the­less, hav­ing a video mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem in the kitchen can be both a chal­lenge that is hard to ac­cept and an op­por­tu­nity. In a bar­be­cue place called Yaoayao, on Shibao (“Food Trea­sure”) Street in Zhong­guan­cun, the per­son in charge com­mented, “By show­ing our kitchen, we can demon­strate to the pub­lic our clean en­vi­ron­ment, good fa­cil­i­ties and stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures, and gain more trust from cus­tomers.”

To this Duan adds that, in the fu­ture, all of Bei­jing’s food ser­vice busi­nesses will have a more trans­par­ent food prepa­ra­tion process and the “seethrough kitchen” will cover ev­ery step in the food process, with real-time video view­ing avail­able, and to­tal mon­i­tor­ing of the food prepa­ra­tion process. The city con­tin­ues to make an ef­fort to de­velop its pub­lic eval­u­a­tion sys­tem via the “Sun­shine Cater­ing App,” giv­ing con­sumer ad­vice, through on­line food or­der­ing, trade as­so­ci­a­tions and third­party eval­u­a­tions to en­cour­age ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in food safety eval­u­a­tion.

Qual­ity-con­cern in Demon­stra­tion Blocks

Zhong­guan­cun’s Shibao Street is an ef­fort of the Glo­ri­ous Ori­en­tal Group, with a large gar­den-style pedes­trian food street, whose oc­cu­pants in­clude Yaoayao, Nan­jing Da­paidang and other new restau­rants. It’s a place where peo­ple can find af­ford­able, safe and tasty spe­cial­i­ties, hence the great re­cep­tion it has got­ten since it opened in De­cem­ber 2016. Daily pedes­trian flow on the street has grown from around 10,000 at the be­gin­ning to nearly 40,000. Some of the more in­no­va­tive busi­nesses have be­come quite pop­u­lar on the in­ter­net, at­tract­ing even more visi­tors.

Li Gui­jie, pres­i­dent of the Glo­ri­ous Ori­en­tal Group, ex­plains that Shibao Street has made a tremen­dous ef­fort in try­ing to im­prove its qual­ity and safety by closely fol­low­ing Bei­jing stan­dards to build a na­tion­ally known, model food city and by us­ing the “Sun­shine Cater­ing” Project and fol­low­ing a phi­los­o­phy of “par­tic­i­pa­tion and com­mon in­ter­est.” The street’s oc­cu­pants have taken the ini­tia­tive in food safety re­spon­si­bil­ity for ex­am­ple by hold­ing weekly meet­ings of food ser­vice trade man­agers. On Tues­days, the op­er­a­tions depart­ment has or­gan­ised meet­ings of peo­ple in charge of the busi­nesses where they can sum up op­er­a­tions of the pre­vi­ous week and in­crease aware­ness of food safety. This has also im­proved busi­ness qual­i­fi­ca­tions so that all food ser­vice busi­nesses ob­tain a per­mit from the food and drug ad­min­is­tra­tion and reg­is­ter with its Shibao Street of­fice.

The op­er­a­tions depart­ment also con­ducts in­spec­tions from time to time to en­sure that all op­er­a­tions re­main within per­mis­si­ble bounds. Pur­chas­ing meth­ods have also been stan­dard­ised so that busi­nesses pur­chas­ing food are in ac­cor­dance with laws and reg­u­la­tions, and that food sup­pli­ers have the proper qual­i­fi­ca­tions and op­er­a­tions depart­ment per­mits to avoid food from ques­tion­able sources. There are checks for un­qual­i­fied busi­nesses, and proper meth­ods to deal with any prob­lems.

Cur­rently, all of the street’s 79 food ser­vice busi­nesses meet “Sun­shine Cater­ing” Project stan­dards and pro­vide ac­ces­si­bil­ity to their kitchens via mo­bile phone apps. Both cater­ers and con­sumers are in­volved in food safety mon­i­tor­ing and Shibao Street is one of the first food blocks in Bei­jing to get the “Sun­shine Cater­ing Model Block” ti­tle, a bench­mark of na­tional food se­cu­rity.

Duan con­cludes by say­ing that the next step is for Bei­jing to en­cour­age blocks that have the right con­di­tions to be­come “Sun­shine Cater­ing” demon­stra­tions, ex­pand their cov­er­age to in­crease their in­flu­ence and the pub­lic’s aware­ness of the “Sun­shine Cater­ing” Project, give greater im­pe­tus to food ser­vice busi­nesses and con­tinue to im­prove food safety.

Pho­tos by Zhao Yue

A see-through kitchen

De­liv­er­ing a take­out to a cus­tomer

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