The Beijing government made public a draft regulation on food safety Monday, which stipulates that food producers and traders who refuse to recall questionable food products may face a maximum fine of 100,000 yuan (US$12,951.7).
The regulation regards producers as first responsible for food safety, with the obligation to ensure that their products meet health standards.
According to the regulation, credit records of producers will be stored in the city's enterprise credit information system. Food safety inspection authorities will expose the unqualified producers and relevant punishments through the media.
Corporative chiefs who are directly responsible for illegal food production and circulation may be restricted from working in the food industry for up to five years, and those involved with serious food safety problems may face a lifetime ban.
The regulation states clearly that producers should recall any questionable food products immediately and submit a written report to food safety inspection authorities within 24 hours of discovering the existing or potential danger with the products. Those who fail to observe the regulation may be fined between 10,000 and 100,000 yuan (US$1,295.17-12,951.7) with the substandard food products confiscated and licenses revoked.
The regulation also enforces more severe punishments for actions threatening food safety. Those who fail to provide information about suppliers, keep a sale record during an emergency, or inject water or other illegal substance to products, may be fined 5,000 to 100,000 yuan (US$647.58-12,951.7). Those selling substandard meat, seafood, or vegetables may be fined 10,000 to 100,000 yuan. Serious violators may have their production and sanitation licenses revoked.
Last year, China witnessed a string of food safety scares including steroid-tainted pork, tea leaves containing excessive amounts of lead, and sauce with the carcinogenic dye Sudan Red. The draft therefore urges a priority on high-risk food products, with a list of these released to the public.
The inspection authorities will organize experts to collect and analyze data on food safety, evaluating the risk of additives, contamination, toxins, and carcinogens. Proper measures will be adopted according to the evaluation.
(China.org.cn by Huang Shan, April 26, 2007)