Food safety to be further enhanced
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.