China regulates GM food labelling
18 June 2014
In the Key Work Arrangements for Food Safety in 2014 published by the General Office of the State Council lately, it is put forward that action will be taken to regulate the certification and use of certification labels of such foods and agricultural products as “pollution-free agricultural products", "green food", "organic food" and "halal food", as well as the use of genetically modified (GM) food labels. This move aims to raise consumers' awareness and discernment of quality marks and certification.
The Work Arrangements clearly state that greater efforts will be made to control land and water pollution. Emphasis will be placed on containing environmental pollution problems such as heavy metal contamination in soil, water pollution in agricultural farming and breeding, and contamination by persistent organic pollutants. Action will also be taken to break the chain of pollutants entering into the farmland.
Where corporate responsibility is concerned, it is proposed in the Work Arrangements that efforts will be made to explore the feasibility of establishing a corporate responsibility system and a punitive damages mechanism. A "food quality and safety authorisation" system will be implemented in baby and infant formula as well as rice wine production enterprises on a pilot basis. Under this system, an enterprise will authorise the person in charge of quality and safety to take full responsibility for quality control over raw materials entering the factory, production processes control, and quality and safety inspection of products leaving the factory. Meanwhile, steps will be taken to look into the establishment of a corporate responsibility system under the principle of producer responsibility and seller responsibility, as well as a punitive damages mechanism for food quality and safety.
The Work Arrangements also set out that implementation of GMP (good manufacturing practice) for enterprises producing baby and infant formula will be expedited. Efforts will be made to tighten industry access and licensing systems; promote the merger, acquisition and restructuring of baby and infant formula enterprises; and proactively encourage a number of baby and infant formula enterprises with sound foundation, good management and huge potential to develop into industry leaders.
Moreover, the Work Arrangements point out that a reward system for reporting illegal acts involving food safety will be implemented. Local people's government at various levels should set up an incentive fund for reporting food safety related incidents, appropriately expanding the scope of incentives and promptly granting rewards to people who provide useful leads. To informants of serious illegal acts such as unlawful production and sale of food products and use of banned food additives, as well as staff at unlawful production and sale units who report the company's illegal acts, the amount of the reward should be raised appropriately. A confidential reporting system must be strictly enforced, and acts of avenging informants will be subject to severe punishment according to law.
- Mainland China
- Mainland China