Beyond Meat inks agreement with food safety challenged China to produce its plant-based proteins


By Dan Flynn, Food Safety News by Marler Clark

September 9, 2020


In the past decade, Beyond Meat’s plant-based protein offerings have become ubiquitous in the marketplace.   It’s gone far with its claim that its meat substitute   is “the future of food.”


Now, however, Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat has to persuade finicky American consumers that the future includes a detour through the People’s Republic of China, a country with one of the most atrocious food safety records in the world.  Food safety scandals in China include a seemingly endless list of foods and poisons..   Some examples include poisonous Jinhua ham, counterfeit baby formula, adulterated pickled vegetables, counterfeit alcoholic drinks, poisonous mushrooms, sewage in tofu manufacturing, fake eggs, expired meats, gutter oil, pesticide residues, and sodium formaldehyde Sulfoxylate, just to name a few.


All that history aside, Beyond Meat has signed an agreement with  Jiaxing Economic & Technological Development Zone “to design and develop manufacturing facilities in the JXEDZ, including a state-of-the-art production facility to manufacture plant-based meat products including beef, pork, and chicken under the Beyond Meat brand in China.”


Jiaxing is a northern, water-connected  Chinese city that some remember for when at least thousands of hog carcasses were found floating in the local Huangpu River.  The JXEDZ, according to Beyond Meat, is a new “historic and commercially important development zone with ready access to Shanghai.”


 “Beyond Meat is building the perfect road to long term success in China, said Micky Pant, senior advisor to Beyond Meat,  “It has the confidence to set up dedicated, cutting edge production capacity via a wholly-owned subsidiary, located on the mainland close to Shanghai. The JXEDZ is a visionary and proactive partner with an excellent record in supporting the food industry.”


Supply chains not previously considered risky because of their Chinese links are now under serious review because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Going the other way, however,  Beyond Meat, Inc. will be the first multinational company focused solely on plant-based meat production to bring its own major production facility into China.


Food production in China has come at a price because of the country’s poor food safety record, which often puts children at risk.  Many American consumers ceased buying food produced in China more than a decade ago when milk powder was dosed with melamine, sending thousands of children to hospitals and killing several.


Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown is apparently not among them.


China is one of the world’s largest markets for animal-based meat products, and potentially for plant-based meat,” Brown said...