China has issued a new draft regulation that would give regulators the authority to blacklist food and beverage manufacturers that have breached food safety standards in the country.
The regulation will allow information on producers who “have seriously violated laws and regulations concerning food, drugs, medical appliances and cosmetics management, and received administrative penalties” to be made public through government websites.
The draft regulation lists multiple circumstances under which a food and beverage producer could be blacklisted, including using raw materials, additives and related products that do not meet food safety standards, or the occurrence of serious food safety incidents.
Naming and shaming
The draft regulation also covers food and beverage makers who do not comply with the technical requirements of a production licence granted to them, who mislabel their products, and who do not act correctly and quickly in case of a food safety incident.
Under the actions proposed under the draft regulation, food safety authorities would would be given the power to also stop production at the food and beverage maker concerned, revoke its licenses and also de-register the business.
It also grants the relevant authorities the responsibility to publicise such details on government websites within 15 working days of imposing a penalty.
In addition, it also called on food and drug watchdogs to increase their spot checks on blacklisted producers and toughen supervision, adding that those blacklisted a first time will be “severely punished” if they break food safety laws again.
China’s food safety issues are now a national, and perhaps even a global issue. Earlier this year, the vice-premier, Wang Yang, called for public and civic groups to unite as a means to supervise food safety.
Speaking at a China food safety forum, he said: “Given major challenges facing the nation's food safety, like the colossal number of small businesses and a decentralised food production and processing model, a supervisory net highlighting the general public is essential to help ensure food safety.”
He explained that his net should call on the latest technology so that government bodies can devise “innovative supervision methods” that cover the entire process from the production of ingredients to the final products leaving the factory.