Press conference on COVID-19 prevention and regulation measures for farmers markets

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on July 3 to brief the media on COVID-19 prevention and regulation measures for farmers markets. July 7, 2020

China News Service:

The recent outbreak at Beijing's Xinfadi Wholesale Market has once again called for us to be vigilant towards preventing the risk of the epidemic spreading in farmers markets. What measures have been taken to safeguard food safety in these markets?

Chen Xu:

Thank you for your question. Farmers markets, including wholesale ones, play an important role in providing food to cities. Based on my knowledge, more than 70% of livestock and poultry meat, aquatic products, vegetables and fruit is provided by agricultural and wholesale markets. In the next phase, the State Administration for Market Regulation will urge all localities to remain vigilant in preventing and controlling the epidemic. The implementation of specific responsibilities assigned to corresponding local administrations should be carried out scrupulously, and the regulation of food security, with farmers markets in particular, will be cemented. The outbreak at Beijing's Xinfadi Wholesale Market has taught us that we must stay alert and work harder to rule out any possible risks at farmers markets. We will highlight our duties in the management of farmers markets and wholesale markets to prevent any potential risks regarding food security issues from occurring.

First, in view of the new situation and requirements for epidemic control and prevention, all people involved in food businesses are required to implement stringent testing after receiving supplies. They are duty-bound to ask for certificates and receipts from providers to ensure that the sources of products on sale can be traced and the succeeding transactions can be followed. In this way, food security risks and epidemic challenges can be contained.

Second, regulatory examinations and random checks should be reinforced. Market access will be denied to all livestock and poultry meat without inspection or quarantine certificates as well as all aquatic products without certificates of origin or vouchers of purchases. Increased random examinations will be launched in underground and semi-underground farmers markets in a bid to quickly identify and deal with non-conforming products.

Third, stringent measures will be adopted to prohibit the consumption and trade of wild animals and to restrict the trade and on-site slaughter of live poultry. We encourage localities wherever possible to slaughter poultry in abattoirs so that live poultry markets will eventually be phased out.

Fourth, price monitoring will be strengthened to avoid volatility in the pricing of everyday items, such as grain, oil, meat and eggs. Our regulatory inspections will highlight venues, including community agricultural stores, agricultural and non-staple markets, and big chain supermarkets. Any violations involving food hoarding or manipulated price hikes will be identified and severely punished, while crimes involving food security issues, such as the production of counterfeit or sub-standard goods as well as adulteration, will be cracked down on. In doing so, we are ensuring the plentiful supply of safe and standardized food at stable prices. Thank you.

Hu Qiangqiang:

Thank you, Mr. Chen. Because of the time limit, that concludes today's question-and-answer session. Many thanks to our friends from the media as well as our speakers. That's all for today's press conference.

Translated and edited by Zhang Liying, Huang Shan, Wang Yiming, Zhang Junmian, Duan Yaying, Zhang Rui, Lin Liyao, Li Huiru, He Shan, Cui Can, Wang Qian, Zhang Jiaqi, Wang Wei, Guo Yiming, Yang Xi, Zhang Tingting, David Ball, Laura Zheng, Geoffrey Murray. 

In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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