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23/03/17: China Issues 5-Year Plan on Food Safety

China Map_0China’s State Council issued a new Five-Year Plan on Food Safety recently. It reviews the status of China’s food safety and acknowledges that problems still exist due to the contamination of input sources (environmental pollution, inappropriate use of agricultural inputs, etc.).

“Challenges still remain given the vast number of small-sized producers, absent food safety standards, and insufficient regulatory/enforcement capacity,” it said.

According to the Plan’s overview, by the end of the last plan period, there were 135,000 food-producing enterprises, 8.19 million circulating enterprises, and 3.48 million catering service providers. Revenue from the above-scale enterprises reached 11.35 trillion Yuan ($1.65 trillion), with a year-on-year growth of 12.5%. Also during that period, food imports and exports increased in value by 23.9%.

The Plan reports that during the last five years, China’s food safety regulatory system has continuously improved. The State Council established the Food Safety Commission as the coordinator for food safety issues among relevant ministries. It reorganized the China Food Safety Administration by integrating the food safety regulatory offices from the previous State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

Chinese lawmakers revised two dozen laws and regulations, including the Food Safety Law. In addition, the National Health and Family Planning Commission completed its review of food standards, and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) issued 2,800 limits for pesticides residues in foods.

The Plan sets forth the following primary objectives: 1. Enhance sample testing to cover all types of food; 2. Effective governance of resource contamination; 3. Reinforce on-site inspections (establish a professional inspector team and standardize enforcement procedures and documentation), and 4. Align Chinese food safety standards with international standards.

China will establish a database that covers food safety standards developed by CODEX and other countries, conduct research and comparison of foreign and global standards. Specifically, China will work to continuously improve the food safety standard system.

“China will actively participate in the formulation of international rules and standards and join global efforts in response to food safety incidents,” the report said. “China will also contribute to the improvement of food safety governance; Chinese experts are also encouraged to take on positions at food-related international organizations.

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