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UPDATED: August 3, 2009 NO. 31 AUGUST 6, 2009
Eating at Ease
New regulation details rules under the Food Safety Law

The regulation makes clear the responsibilities of governments at the county and city levels. It stipulates that county-level governments should organize and coordinate food safety authorities at the same level as sanitation, agriculture, quality inspection, food and medicine supervision to supervise local food producers and sellers.

The regulation urges the establishment of a risk-monitoring plan for food safety and a national standards plan for food safety. The risk-monitoring plan will be instituted by the MOH, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. The national standards plan will be instituted by the MOH, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the GAQSIQ. The evaluation committee for national food safety standards will be organized by the MOH and the follow-up evaluation to the implementation of food safety standards will be done by the authorities of health, agriculture and quality inspection at or above the provincial level.

The regulation will strengthen coordination and cooperation between different food safety supervision authorities.

The regulation stipulates that the MOH should share food safety supervision data with the GAQSIQ and others. Health and agriculture authorities at or above the provincial level should report to each other risk supervision information for food safety and quality supervision for edible agricultural products. Further, the MOH and the MOA should exchange information on evaluations of food safety risk and the quality of edible agricultural products.

When food safety accidents occur, the authorities should cooperate and coordinate with each other under the organization of the MOH to advance the efficiency of the investigation, the regulation says.

Detailed methods

The regulation gives detailed explanations to aspects of the Food Safety Law to guarantee full and effective implementation.

The law requires that a risk evaluation system for food safety is implemented but does not give a detailed explanation as to how to do it. The regulation adds guidance and makes clear the various conditions needed to start the risk evaluation system. According to the regulation, the risk evaluation system will be started under the conditions of needing to provide scientific basis for establishing or revising national standards for food safety, deciding the key supervision fields and the key supervision species and finding new potential harmful factors to food safety.

The regulation also refines the food re-inspection system. In order to make convenient for enterprises and consumers to look up the names of re-inspection agencies and avoiding multiple re-inspections and to protect the legitimate rights of re-inspection applicants, the regulation stipulates that the re-inspection agency list will be jointly published by the MOH, the MOA and other supervision departments approved by the State Council. The results provided by the re-inspection agencies are final.

The Food Safety Law regulates the publishing departments of daily food safety supervision information while the regulation makes clear the contents of daily supervision information.

According to the regulation, supervision information must include administrative licensing according to the Food Safety Law, name lists of foods, food additives and products banned from production and sale and investigations and punishments for illegal activities.

The regulation also makes clear the range of viral hepatitis and refines the recall system for substandard products.

"The regulation, implemented in coordination with the Food Safety Law, will be beneficial to further fulfill the responsibilities of food enterprises as the first responsible bodies and strengthen the food safety supervision of governments and concerning departments. Its implementation will improve the general condition of food safety in China," the official said.

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