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Shanghai leads nation in setting tougher food safety regulations

SHANGHAI plans tough new food safety regulations — the toughest in the nation — that would see some offenders banned from the food industry for life.

Yan Zuqiang, director of Shanghai Food and Drug Administration, said some measures in the draft regulation were even tougher than China’s national food safety law.

It was presented to the annual session of the Shanghai People’s Congress yesterday and is expected to be approved today.

The new regulation imposes a lifetime ban from the industry for operators convicted of food safety crimes and a five-year ban for those whose business license is revoked.

“The draft stipulates local food business owners should set up management rules on the use of foods and additives that are near their expiry date, which is stricter than the national law,” Yan said on the sidelines of the Congress.

He said that clause was included in response to a 2014 scandal over out-of-date meat involving fast-food chain supplier Shanghai Husi Food Co.

Zhong Yanqun, deputy director with the Standing Committee of the Congress, said the legislation would rationalize oversight, putting the FDA in charge of food safety from production to the end of the line, including catering services.

Food safety is currently jointly overseen by the city’s quality watchdog, the industry and commerce authority, and the FDA.

Zhong said the new legislation would improve control of online food services, requiring food portals to supervise vendors’ online advertising, check their registered company names and their business licenses.

Platforms would be required to immediately remove vendors involved in food safety breaches or operating illegally.

Other measures include requiring delivery men to obtain health certificates and setting out hygiene requirements for equipment, including carry and storage boxes.

And small outfits must register with subdistrict governments to be able to continue operating, after they have met hygiene, fire and safety and environmental standards and received the approval of local residents.

Yan said this provided a solution for small food businesses that are popular but are unable to meet the qualifications for an official eatery license.

The city’s market supervision, environmental protection, housing, urban management and fire prevention authorities would closely monitor such businesses.

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