Project Details


Chinese Survival Handbook

Choosing to trust the knowledge of the crowd in China

Project URL:

  • Community Engagement
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Health
  • Mobile
  • Social Software

National food safety in China became a prominent public policy concern when a scandal broke in 2008 due to melamine-tainted milk powder (over 500 times the accepted level) that killed six babies and made 300,000 more ill. Melamine is a toxic chemical used to make plastics, fertilizers and concrete. When found in food products at dangerous levels it causes kidney stones and kidney failure.

A long list of food crises has since occurred, including copper sulfate tainted eggs, cadmium-tainted rice, fake mutton which was actually rat meat, pesticide-contaminated ginger and recycled cooking oil. Combined with a vast number of fake forms of foods such as eggs, beef, tofu and honey, this has seriously dented consumer confidence among citizens in China.

That is where the Chinese Survival Guide comes in. It is a recent app developed to provide instant alerts and updates on food scandals, warnings and notices, and was downloaded by over 200,000 people within the first three days of its release in 2010.

The government has set in motion a five-year plan aimed at upgrading the country’s food safety regulations, but with government confidence not high in China people are choosing to trust the knowledge of the crowd instead.

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Last updated: 09th of May, 2014

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