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Shanghai: Criterion Used to Keep Food Standards
Shanghai government is introducing new production management standards for the food industry to ensure consumer safety.

Shanghai's Bureau of Health decided on rules and guidelines earlier this year for local food producers to implement Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), a pro-active control system to ensure food quality.

The Shanghai municipal government Deputy Secretary-General Wang Ronghua said the regulations would be implemented later this year.

The system has already been successfully adopted around the world and is mandatory in some countries.

The Municipal Trade Commission Vice-Director Chen Haigang said the system would be promoted within Shanghai's food sector.

Introducing the system is believed to be a move by local health authorities to build up the competitiveness of the city's food industry in the domestic and international arenas in the wake of China becoming a member of the World Trade Organization at the end of last year.

Different from the traditional "produce and test" mode, the new system relies on the identification of Critical Control Points (CCP’s) in food production and the monitoring of CCP's to ensure food safety.

The key is to separate important production control issues from those which have no real impact.

CCP's highlight steps in the process where food can become hazardous.

They can include the location of a factory or the manufacturing procedure.

Critical limits - which can be determined by government regulations and are used to ensure the HACCP system is working - are established to eliminate or minimize hazards.

The system is designed to alert producers to toxins, contamination, foreign materials and decomposition. It also monitors product quality and product substitution.

Besides local guidelines for HACCP implementation, Shanghai's health bureau has a HACCP framework for over 10 products including dairy, meat, frozen food, cakes and beverages.

"We have taken the real situation in our food industry, such as some of the unique production procedures, into consideration when recommending HACCP designs," said Peng Jing, vice-director of the health bureau.

( China Daily August 13, 2002)

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