Zero-tolerance attitude toward food safety a must
China Daily

Consumers check out vegetables at a supermarket in Handan, Hebei province, on Aug 10, 2022. HAO QUNYING/FOR CHINA DAILY

The State Administration for Market Regulation recently issued a regulation urging food production enterprises to fulfill their main responsibility on food safety, strengthen the sense of responsibility of their principal officials and standardize the behavior of their food safety management personnel.

The food safety work in China today still faces some dominant and potential risks, including microbial and heavy metal pollution and non-standardized use of food additives, apart from the impact of environmental pollution.

The food producing enterprise plays a fundamental role in ensuring food safety. The SAMR regulation puts emphasis on perfecting enterprises' responsibility system, improving their risk prevention and control mechanism, clarifying their safeguards for duty fulfillment, and improving the relevant legal responsibilities. It also clarifies that the main person behind the enterprise is fully responsible for its food safety work.

A large number of cases in the past show that some food production enterprises have no clear identification of food safety risks, and lack improper management measures, precise screening of hidden dangers, or timely rectification measures.

The SAMR regulation makes it clear that food production and marketing enterprises above a certain scale should be equipped with food safety directors and set up a sound work mechanism based on safety analysis, screening and management on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

This requires enterprises to increase inputs and strengthen safety training and management, establish a food safety responsibility system in which the chief persons take overall responsibility, and food safety directors and other personnel are responsible for food safety at different levels.

Facts show that the occurrence of food safety problems is largely related to excessive pursuit of profits and weak law awareness among food producers and the lack of a sense of inspection or such kind of ability among practitioners. Therefore, the country should not only rely on enterprises' self-consciousness, but also strengthen supervision and law enforcement.

The SAMR regulation stipulates that food production and marketing enterprises that fail to establish a food safety management system or fail to implement food safety responsibilities will be fined and their license revoked. Local governments should be more responsible for food safety and hold a zero-tolerance attitude toward violations.