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REGULATION & FOOD: Beijing planning to make food makers, sellers accountable for safety




                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  BEIJING PLANNING TO MAKE FOOD MAKERS, SELLERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR SAFETY

SOURCE: Xinhua, China

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-07/25/content_6429046.htm

DATE:   25.07.2007

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BEIJING PLANNING TO MAKE FOOD MAKERS, SELLERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR SAFETY

BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Beijing lawmakers are considering a new law that would force food makers and sellers to be responsible for recalling their unsafe products, say sources at the 37th session of the Standing Committee of the 12th Municipal People’s Congress.

A draft of the Regulations Regarding Food Safety in Beijing City before the committee stipulates that food producers and vendors should take the initiative to recall food that is found to contain actual or potential health hazards.

Zhang Zhikuan, head of the municipal government coordination office for supervision of food safety, said the system would ensure producers and vendors exercised their responsibilities in reducing hazards, and lower government costs in supervision and management.

He considered penalties laid out in current regulations far too lenient, and inadequate as a deterrent to unsafe practices.

The draft regulations listed 65 food categories commonly used in daily life, such as rice, flour, edible oils, and genetically modified foodstuffs for strict monitoring, said Ji Wei, section chief of food quality control of the industry and commerce department.

The draft regulations devoted 18 articles to penalties in case of violations, with the highest fine fixed at 500,000 yuan, said Ji.

Article 28, for instance, said producers and vendors of unsafe food could receive lenient treatment or even be exempted from penalties if they took the initiative to promptly recall unsafe food.

Before Tuesday’s opening of the 37th session of the Standing Committee of the 12th Municipal People’s Congress, officials had openly sought public submissions on and held workshops to discuss the draft.

Standing committee members are expected to vote on the regulations on Friday.

Last year, the city’s industry and commerce authority ordered 1,480 unsafe food products to be withdrawn from sale, and 21 firms that were repeatedly found with problematic food were banned from city markets.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  MINISTRY ANNOUNCES NEW RULING ON ‘NOVEL FARES‘

SOURCE: China Daily, China

AUTHOR: Shan Juan

URL:    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-07/19/content_5438979.htm

DATE:   19.07.2007

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MINISTRY ANNOUNCES NEW RULING ON ‘NOVEL FARES‘

A new regulation on ”novel foods” will come into force on December 1, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday on its website.

It will supersede a ruling on such products introduced in 1990 and a regulation on genetically modified food, which some experts had warned failed to sufficiently protect the health of consumers.

The new regulation applies to companies and individuals involved in the production and trade of novel foods.

These are defined as food ingredients, which meet the basic criteria of food but do not have a significant history of consumption in China.

Novel foods have to undergo a series of strict procedures before the MOH will allow them onto the market, the regulation said.

The foods fall broadly into four categories: Animals, plants and microorganisms that are not often consumed in China; seldom-used food ingredients aside from animals plants and microorganisms; newly discovered microorganisms applied during food processing; and food ingredients whose structure has been modified by new techniques, the regulation said.

Given the fact that novel foods are usually just ingredients in ready-to-consume products, the public is seldom aware of what it is eating, Zhang Jian, a researcher with national institute of nutrition and food safety affiliated to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told China Daily.

For instance, not many people would know that sugar-free chewing gum gets its sweetness from Isomalt, Zhang said.

Isomalt is a solution used in sugar-free and low-sugar products such as boiled sweets, chewing gum and chocolates.

”The market for novel foods in China is still largely untapped, but it will surely grow as wealthy Chinese develop a taste for healthier foods, such as sugar-free products,” Zhang said.

The regulation said the government encouraged the scientific research and development of novel foods as it wanted to add greater variety to the market.

Currently, there are some 340 novel foods on the market, but these might have to be reviewed to comply with the new rules, the ministry said.

To further drive the novel food industry, the regulation does away with complex approval procedures, while tightening food safety measures.

Health authorities will be required to conduct spot checks on producers and track the quality and safety of novel products, the ministry said.

Companies that overstate the medical efficacy of novel foods will be punished, it said.


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