4 Acts of ‘Strictness’
The Opinions emphasize the necessity to implement the “strictest” measures (四个最严) to ensure food and drug safety. These include:
Setting rigorous standards
China will increase the maximum residue limit for pesticides and veterinary drugs to 10,000 by 2020 in a bid to align with the World Health Organization’s standards. Authorities also aim to create a corporate public commitment system whilst tightening up controls on the actual implementation of food safety standards.
Implementing strict supervision
According to the new guidelines, strict controls should be applied across the entire supply chain, from storage and food processing to delivery. There will be increased scrutiny on the use of food additives, especially for infant formula. Authorities also point out the responsibility of online food delivery platforms in ensuring the quality of registered restaurants’ offerings. In addition, the Opinions provide for the acceleration of the crackdown on so-called “dark kitchens” (unlicensed ‘restaurants’ operating without a physical store).
Applying severe sanctions
Authorities commit to accelerate efforts in judicial interpretations of criminal cases involving food safety violations and increase the cost of infringement to deter illegal acts.
Adhering to strict accountability measures
The final priority for Beijing is to strengthen supervision over food safety at a local level.
In a landmark set of guidelines unveiled in February this year, China’s State Administration of Market Regulation specified the role and responsibilities of party officials in ensuring food safety within their administration. Specifically, Beijing will assess local official based on how actively they promote food safety compliance. Conversely, failure to properly handle food safety incidents or concealing deficiencies will be severely punished.
On top of that, State regulators also expressed their willingness to establish a unified traceability platform for edible agricultural products. They encourage the voluntary purchase of product liability insurance by meat, egg, milk and liquor producers, cafeterias, rural dining centers, bulk food distribution units, and catering businesses.