The new regulations, which were approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, will raise safety standards, increase punishments and implement a system of risk evaluation that includes monitoring 500,000 companies, the state-run Xinhua news service reported on Feb. 28. Responsibility for food safety will be divided among the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the State Food and Drug Administration and the ministries of health, agriculture, commerce and industry. Responsibility for food safety will be divided among several government bureaus, which has long been considered a shortcoming of the Chinese safety system as various agencies have battled for control and potential revenue from fines. “It’s a problem,” says Hu Dinghuan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. “There are too many responsible departments.” He advocates putting more of the burden on the private sector. (Read “China’s Melamine Woes Likely to Get Worse”.)
What could be more problematic is the time it will take China to put the new regulations into place.
See also “Some skeptical of China’s new food safety law” from USA Today.