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

People's Daily:

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, issues related to wildlife trade in farmers' markets have been the focus of public concern. What efforts have been made to combat illegal wildlife trade and guarantee food quality and safety?

Chen Xu:

Thank you for your question. In terms of combating illegal wildlife trade, the SAMR has earnestly implemented the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on a Complete Ban of Illegal Wildlife Trade and the Elimination of the Unhealthy Habit of Indiscriminate Wild Animal Meat Consumption for the Protection of Human Life and Health and worked with related departments to issue the Urgent Notice on Strengthening the Regulation of Wildlife Markets for Prevention and Control of the Epidemic, and the Announcement on Banning Illegal Wildlife Trade. We have conducted a campaign against illegal wildlife trade nationwide and undertaken coordinated efforts with related departments to crack down on and close sites of illegal wildlife business operation, and impose a complete ban on the illegal wildlife trade. By the mid-June, market regulatory authorities nationwide had investigated and handled 450 cases, conducted 17.72 million inspections over farmers' markets and other business sites, inspected business operators 56.31 million times, and suspended operations for rectification involving more than 12,000 markets and business operators.

With regard to ensuring food safety and quality, the SAMR has issued the Notice on Further Strengthening Food Safety Regulation during Epidemic Prevention and Control, the Urgent Notice on Further Strengthening Regulation of Quality and Safety of Pork and Other Swine Products Sold in Markets, and the Notice on Strengthening Regulation of Quality and Safety of Fruits, Vegetables and Other Edible Agricultural Products Sold in Markets. It has made arrangements for localized continuous efforts to step up inspections and supervisions over key sites, including farmers' markets, wholesale markets, supermarkets and restaurants, and strengthened supervision and random inspections to uncover hidden risks posed by pesticides and veterinary drug residues and illegal additives in food and fresh agricultural products in particular so as to effectively deal with violations and unqualified food.  

Since the outbreak at Xinfadi wholesale food market in Beijing, a teleconference has been held for the whole system of the SAMR to take coordinated steps in epidemic prevention and control as well as food safety supervision, requiring local authorities to further strengthen check for any food safety risks in key sites, including farmers' markets, restaurants and schools, as part of facilitating epidemic prevention and control and promoting a resumption of work and production as well as allowing students to return to school, and to provide strong support for "ensuring stability on six fronts" and "maintaining security in six areas." By the middle of June, a total of 105,000 sample inspections had been conducted of fresh produce including meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as food commodities, with these inspections producing a qualified rate of up to 96.9%. The unqualified products were investigated and dealt with in a timely way. Thank you.

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