Food safety to be fur­ther en­hanced

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Food safety in Shang­hai is about to re­ceive a boost, with the city’s au­thor­i­ties hav­ing voted dur­ing the Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Peo­ple’s Congress to add a series of new mea­sures to the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to one of the new mea­sures, an on­line food- or­der­ing plat­form must im­me­di­ately sus­pend its re­la­tion­ship with a ven­dor that dis­plays “sub­stan­dard be­hav­iors” and re­port the case to the mar­ket watch­dog. Fail­ure to do so might re­sult in fines of up to 50,000 yuan ($7,300).

Th­ese “sub­stan­dard be­hav­iors” in­clude op­er­at­ing with­out a busi­ness li­cense or a per­mit to sell food, sell­ing pro­hib­ited prod­ucts and sell­ing food that causes health prob­lems.

Au­thor­i­ties said that the new mea­sures are aimed at reg­u­lat­ing the rapidly de­vel­op­ing on­line foodor­der­ing mar­ket and will take ef­fect soon, though no spe­cific date was given.

Shen Qun­hui, a deputy to the lo­cal leg­is­la­ture, ap­plauded the fo­cus on on­line food plat­forms.

“Such plat­forms are def­i­nitely not just a third party. They must take the ini­tia­tive to en­sure the safety of the mil­lions of users who place or­ders through their apps. Frankly speak­ing, I think fines of 50,000 yuan for them are still too light,” said Shen, who is also the deputy di­rec­tor of the con­struc­tion and trans­porta­tion com­mis­sion in Changn­ing district.

When the new mea­sures take ef­fect, on­line plat­forms will be re­quired to dis­play their ven­dors’ lat­est op­er­at­ing li­censes and food safety credit sta­tus.

On­line plat­forms will also need to carry out spot checks on their ven­dors to in­spect the dif­fer­ent as­pects of the busi­nesses, such as the food stor­age con­di­tions and whether they have in­voices for their raw food ma­te­ri­als.

The Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion said that the reg­u­la­tions will in­clude stricter and more de­tailed stan­dards for other players in the food in­dus­try, such as small-sized food and bev­er­age op­er­a­tors as well as pro­duc­ers and deal­ers of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

Nearly 94 per­cent of the clauses in the re­vised reg­u­la­tions are new. The pre­vi­ous ver­sion of the reg­u­la­tions was is­sued in July 2011.

Food or­der­ing and de­liv­ery apps on smart­phones have been grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity in the past few years. Sta­tis­tics from the Shang­hai FDA showed that on­line trans­ac­tions for food or­ders and de­liv­er­ies in the coun­try reached nearly 46 bil­lion yuan in 2016, triple that in 2014. The num­ber of daily users of such apps in China ex­ceeds 25 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Shang­hai FDA, more than 60,000 un­li­censed ven­dors were driven out of the on­line mar­ket last year.

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