The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) event educated delegates about the law and how they can best implement it in their food operations in China.
Officials from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) and the China Nutrition and Health Food Association (CNHFA) are all on the programme and participating in the opening ceremony.
The Chinese government used the event to make three new food safety announcements, including a new partnership between GFSI and China’s CNCA to accelerate food safety development, including introducing a standard similar to HACCP; and collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to scale up food safety capacity building in Asia and around the world.
Speakers at the event will cover topics including consumer trust and third-party certification, with a special focus on what the new Chinese food safety law will mean for food operations.
Four chief executives from leading food companies such as the COFCO Corporation and AEON China will share their insights on food safety co-governance and answer audience questions. Food safety experts from the GFSI board of directors, leading food retail and manufacturing companies, UNIDO and other institutions will also take the stage.
Food safety in China has come under growing scrutiny in recent years, with a significant number of scandals brought to global attention. In 2004 formula milk tainted with melamine caused the death of at least 13 babies; in 2008 a further six babies died in a similar incident, with 300,000 more hospitalised. In 2003, several ham producers were found to have soaked their hams in the pesticide Dichlorvos, which is poisonous. Earlier this year, smuggled frozen meat, some of it up to 40 years old, was seized by customs officials from boats attempting to sell the meat into China. As the country’s international trade grows, attempts to crack down on the infamously high levels of food fraud, adulteration, and dangerously lax levels of monitoring over food production are growing.
The new food safety law aims to clean up China’s entire food supply – banning highly toxic pesticides, regulating food labelling and increasing punishments for those who violate China’s existing laws. There is a new burden of responsibility placed on everyone who handles food, throughout the chain, including farms, processors, retailers and food stalls.