Larger stores will now be charged with uploading information of all their stock-keeping units into a database, ahead of smaller grocery retailers and street markets following suit at a later date.
Supermarkets which fail to upload the information could face a fine of up to 20,000 yuan (US$3,100), said Yan Zuqiang, director of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration.
“Previously, we have established monitoring systems for meat and meat products, aquatic products, dairy products and bean products,” Yan said. “A monitoring system for restaurants is being set up and already includes one-third of local eateries.”
With the three systems forming a single network—available for public scrutiny at spaq.sh.cn—officials will be able to inspect retailers and soon weigh up their performance through the system.
“In the future, we will set up an evaluation credit system for each enterprise,” Yan added. “Those that perform well will be honoured and those that perform badly will be punished.”
Meanwhile, a top legislator has called for improvements and reforms to the country's food safety supervision system.
Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said enforcement was still week and fell short of public expectations, after teams of inspectors were sent to regions across the country to assess practices there.
Citing difficulties in supervising farming and small food vendors, Zhang said reforms needed to be deepened to ensure that the law is implemented properly. A report on the exercise will be submitted to the NPC for review next month.