The move has come as results of a recent poll in Beijing revealed that food safety concerns was the one of the top concerns amongst the city folk.
Rong Li, a delegate to the CPPCC Beijing Committee and an expert from the Office for Public Health Manager under the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that authorities should rely on customers to discover and report on food safety breaches.
“Food safety issues are at the forefront of people’s minds and food safety is without doubt the top concern,” remarked James Roy, senior market analyst with China Market Research.
In the announcement, Chinese food officials have declared that its priority and focus in its five-year plan leading to 2015, would be tighter regulation for food safety, quality, nutrition, health and convenience.
By 2015, China will control over 1000 national and industry standards so that inspections on food quality will need to have a passing rate of over 97% - thereby ensuring higher food quality.
Food officials intend to raise the bar for entry level for processed foods. In addition, inspection procedures, food recall measures and implementation of companies’ social responsibility will also be enhanced.
New standards will also be implemented for the regulation of food additives, fast foods, dairy products and beverages. Officials are considering adhering to international standards, with the goal to stengthen national food standards.
Food companies are likely to be subjected to tigher food inspection policies with more stringent procedures to follow. Food enterprises would be urged to start its testing from the stage of raw materials to food production, packaging and marketing.
Authorities will also encourage companies to collaborate and merge and even make acquisitions so that economies of scale and modernised processing methods would be followed.
They are also encouraging the establishment of industrial food processing parks from firms in the eastern part of the country that are more technological advanced to partner with firms that are in the resources rich midwest part of the country.
Wenfeng Ma, senior analyst with Beijing Orient Agri Consulting, said this latest move by the government would indeed lead to improvements in the fast-growing food industry in China.
He added that as consumers today are more conscious of food quality and safety issues, the government had to do something to allay their fears in a bid to boost their trust in local food enterprises.