Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the ability of the Chinese geographical indications (GI) system to offer extra guarantees on food safety. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a network approach, the research includes a literature review and takes a sample of GI products in Jiangxi Province as a means of exploring the ability of the GI system to enhance food safety in China. Findings – The safety level of Chinese GI food products is not automatically ensured by GI schemes alone. The Chinese Government appears to be using GI labels more as a promotional tool to enhance farmers’ incomes rather than as a means of reducing safety concerns and is thus missing an opportunity to enhance food safety in tandem with adding value. Originality/value – This research is of academic value and of value to policy makers. The results suggest an urgent need to encourage producers to attend GI management programmes, to generate appropriate GI standards, to be actively involved in GI issuing processes, and thus to provide “safe” GI products. Meanwhile, with weak government enforcement, there is also a need to build an effective food safety regulatory system to ensure food safety and protect consumers’ rights.
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- Food safety
- Chinese food sector
- GI system
- Regulatory effectiveness