China

Food poisoning deaths drop as authorities relax whistle-blower regs

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

China's food safety record is improving as officials call for more support for tip-offs
China's food safety record is improving as officials call for more support for tip-offs

Related tags: Food poisoning, State council of the people's republic of china

Less people are dying of food poisoning, though more are getting sick, according to official  health figures released for the third-quarter this year.  

Over the three months 42 died of food poisoning—a year-on-year drop of nearly 9%, the National Health and Family Planning commission said in a statement.

However, the number suffering from food poising grew by just over 26%, with 2,482 cases registered.

The number of people who suffered food poisoning increased by 26.1 percent to 2,482 out of 68 cases—an increase of 11.5%—a statement from the commission said.

Public action

Over half were caused by bacteria, and most cases occurred at home, prompting the commission to carry out more campaigns to help the public develop healthy eating habits, Xinhua, China’s official news service, has reported.

The commission also urged schools, catering services and restaurants to raise hygiene standards.

At the same time, Chinese food authorities’ bid to reduce the number of food scandals is gathering steam with the legislative affairs office of China's State Council promising greater protection for whistle-blowers. 

Guarding anonymity

According to a draft regulation, the exposure of information relating to any tip-offs will be prohibited. It also orders all food and drug watchdogs to make the process of reporting tip-offs easier, and calls for an improved administration system to handle the reports.

Concrete facts and information on suspect food and drug products should be provided when people submit tip-offs, the draft said, and whistleblowers will have the right to report anonymously.

It also identified examples of the times when people should contact authorities, highlighting instances of malpractice that cause death or injury, anything to do with infant and children’s dairy food safety, a number of pharmaceuticals and high-risk health incidences.

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

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