China Adopts Food-Safety Law, Creates Cabinet Body

After a string of food safety scares in 2008, China has passed its first law and has created a cabinet-level commission for issues. From Bloomberg:

“There is a clear need to develop unified national standards for food safety,” Xin [deputy director of legislative affairs for the standing committee] told reporters, according to an online transcript of a press conference in Beijing. “Rationalization of the regulatory system is one of the most important missions of the food safety law.”

The law increases criminal and civil penalties for violations by food producers and managers, Xin said. She said in cases where the management clearly knows that the company is selling food that doesn’t meet standards, the company will have to compensate consumer 10 times the price of the product.

China has about 500,000 food makers, including 2,600 large companies that account for about 72 percent of the market, according to Xin. The law tightens record-keeping requirements in order to improve regulators’ ability to identify responsibility for problems, she said.

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