Latest China food safety developments

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, European union

China's State Council has issued a special regulation, which
intensifies control and supervision of food manufacturers and
distributors, in a bid to improve food safety, according to Xinhua,
the official news agency.

Inspection and quarantine authorities are required to make positive records on Chinese food exports, which must be submitted regularly to the media. China is under pressure to strengthen regulations after a series of food safety scares including the melamine in feed and tainted seafood. Exporters that provide fake quality certificates or evade inspections will be fined three times the value of the products in question. Meanwhile, China has said it will provide quarterly reports on food safety to the European Union. Almost half the 1,000 products barred from European markets after safety alerts last year came from China, according to the European Commission. The reports aim to ease tensions between the bloc and China, which has doubled its exports to the EU between 2003 and 2006. Another measure introduced by China is to pay large rewards whistleblowers who report illegal practices within the food industry. The Beijing Municipal Food Safety Committee last week said it was increasing the maximum reward available fivefold to Y50,000 ($6,579). The new rewards program, which came into force last week, will also guarantee the anonymity to protect and encourage those who report illegal practices. The Committee is also considering ways of preventing malicious reports of wrongdoing by rival companies. Recent policy changes add to a raft of measures introduced and announced by China in a bid to improve its food safety for domestic and export markets. Earlier this year, a recall framework forcing companies to recall and collect tainted products that pose risks to the public, was announced. Procedures for tracing contaminated food should be in place by the end of the year, by which time thousands of new and amended regulations will have taken affect.

Related topics: Markets, Food safety, East Asia, China

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