China to introduce food recall framework
China is expected to take shape by the end of the year.
The China State Food and Drug Administration will introduce a set of draft rules and procedures requiring companies to trace and collect food products that pose health risks. The recall proposals, the first of their kind in China, are part of an offensive intended to improve the safety of Chinese food, but will impose extra burdens and costs on manufacturers intending to operate in the country. Chinese officials are reacting to the backlash of international criticism over the safety of its food. The new rules will apply to foreign as well as domestic companies, with blacklisting a punishment for violations. The regulator also issued a warning to companies not to import products into China that do not have the required export approval. Also yesterday, Liu Pingjun, chief of the National Standardization Management Commission, pledged to improve food safety enforcement. "China will speed up revisions to national and industry standards on farm produce and processed food products," he stated on a website of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. He said that by the end of 2006 China had 1,965 national food standards in operation, 634 of which were mandatory. He also said, however, that the standards were on average 12 years old. Regulatory changes are seen as necessary following a series of food safety scares involving Chinese food in recent months. Most notably was the discovery melamine, a banned chemical, pet food and feed, which poisoned animals across the US. Meanwhile, Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, was sentenced death earlier this year, after pleading guilty to corruption charges.