The State Council pledged on Tuesday to solve food safety issues in three years, but effective supervision and punishment of those breaking the law is the key accomplishing the ambitious target, analysts said.
“China’s food industry still has many safety risks and illegal actions happen often,” said a statement released on Tuesday by the State Council.
The government will launch a crackdown on food plants and individuals endangering food safety to significantly improve the situation in three years, the statement said.
Also, the country will establish a better regulation mechanism, legal and standards systems, as well as technical support systems, to improve the overall food safety management level in about five years, according to the statement.
“Major food safety problems are mainly related to production issues, such as the use of illegal additives and illegal food processing in small plants,” said food safety expert Dong Jinshi, executive vice-president of the International Food Packaging Association in Beijing.
Food safety has become a major concern for Chinese consumers after a string of cases surfaced, including melamine-tainted baby formula products and pork contaminated with clenbuterol.
According to the State Council statement, food safety will become a measure of local governments’ performance in their annual assessments. A database of food companies’ safety records will also be established. Blacklisted companies’ names will be made public and the companies will be punished.
Local quality authorities must also prevent expired food products from returning to the market, while consumers will get cash rewards for exposing substandard food products, the statement said.
Li Chang’an, a public policy professor at the Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics, said that some local officials have been held responsible for severe food scandals in the past few years.
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