Food safety is one of the major concerns in every country regardless of the economic and social development. The frequent occurrence of food scandals in the world has led the Chinese government to implement several strategies to fortify the food supply system to a high food safety standard. This relies heavily on laboratory testing services but conventional methods for detection of food contaminants and toxicants are limited by sophisticated sample preparation procedures, long analysis time, large instruments and professional personnel to meet the increasing demands. In this review, we have incorporated most of the current and potential rapid detection methods for many notorious food contaminants and toxicants including microbial agents, toxic ions, pesticides, veterinary drugs and preservatives, as well as detection of genetically modified food genes and adulterated edible oil. Development of rapid, accurate, easy-to-use and affordable testing methods could urge food handlers and the public to actively screen for food contaminants and toxicants instead of passively relying on monitoring by the government examination facility. This review also provides several recommendations including how to encourage the public to engage in the food safety management system and provide optimal education and financial assistance that may improve the current Chinese food safety control system.