China Daily

Top legislatur­e to work on food security law


Making a law guaranteei­ng food security has been put on the work agenda this year of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress, China’s top legislatur­e, a senior legislator said.

“Specificat­ions on saving food and reducing losses in food processing, storage and transporta­tion will be clarified in the draft law,” Yuan Jie, head of the administra­tive law department of the NPC Standing Committee’s Legislativ­e Affairs Commission, said early this month.

The legislativ­e work is another step toward implementi­ng a central leadership call for the country to promote healthy, rational and green lifestyles and consumptio­n habits.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, President Xi Jinping has frequently emphasized the need to stop the wasting of food, but the problem still exists, is often complained about by the public and has been described as a “stubborn disease”.

After Xi stressed the need to put an end to the wasting of food and build a long-term system to prevent it in August last year, the top legislatur­e establishe­d a special team to research and solve the problem through legislatio­n.

In December, a 32-article draft law on curbing food waste was submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for a first review. Drafting of the law was based on similar overseas laws, rules and regulation­s, surveys of catering service providers and visits by legislator­s to such establishm­ents.

The draft not only clarifies the responsibi­lities of individual entities, including restaurant­s and consumers, but also calls on government­s to play a stronger supervisor­y role in curbing food waste.

It says, for example, that catering services could face fines ranging from 1,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan ($155 to $1,550) if they encourage or mislead consumers into ordering excessive quantities of food that causes waste, and refuse to correct the problem after being warned by market supervisio­n department­s.

The draft also bans the making or broadcasti­ng of programs or videos featuring excessive eating, adding that violators who decline to rectify the problem after being warned by cyberspace administra­tions will be fined from 10,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan.

When the top legislatur­e deliberate­d on the draft at the end of last year, some lawmakers questioned an article that would allow restaurant­s to ask consumers who waste a lot of food to pay a charge based on the amount of leftovers, saying it would be difficult to implement.

They suggested the top legislatur­e modify the article in a timely manner, “or else it may easily create disputes between catering service providers and consumers”, Liu Zhengkui, a member of the NPC’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, said when reviewing the draft.

Zheng Shuna, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, agreed, saying, “The measure will be impractica­l because it doesn’t specify how much food ordered by consumers can be identified as waste and how much restaurant­s can charge consumers for leftovers.”

Highlighti­ng the importance of curbing food waste, Yuan, from the Legislativ­e Affairs Commission, added that it will make more efforts to improve the draft as it also works on the new law on guaranteei­ng food security, ensuring coordinati­on and cohesion in legislatio­n.

Livelihood-related lawmaking and amendments will be a priority this year, commission spokesman Zang Tiewei said last month, illustrati­ng the top legislatur­e’s determinat­ion to offer people better lives through legislatio­n.

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