A revision to China's Food Safety Law had its first reading on Monday and pledges tough sanctions for offenders, promising the strictest food safety supervision system.
The current law has been somewhat effective in improving food safety, but the situation remains severe, said Zhang Yong, head of the food and drug administration, when briefing the lawmakers.
The existing system is not effective, penalties are comparatively light and it does not deter offenders, Zhang said.
Through the law amendment, the country expects to impose the harshest civil, administrative and criminal penalties on offenders and tightest punishment on supervisors who neglect their duties, he said.
Bigger fines for offenders are also on the menu. Producers can face fines of up to 30 times of the value of their products, up from ten times in the current law. If the products are worth less than 10,000 yuan (1,600 US dollars), those involved can be fined a maximum of 150,000 yuan, up from 50,000 yuan in the current law.
The bill adds provisions to punish landlords of production sites who know that illegal activities are being undertaken on their property, and suppliers who sell unlawful substances to producers, knowing that they will be added to foods. Their illegal income will be seized and they can be fined up to 200,000 yuan.
Administrative penalties, such as demotion and dismissal, will be imposed on officials who fail to respond to food safety emergencies and remove loopholes. They will also be held responsible for food safety cover-ups. Similar punishments will be dished out to officials with the food and drug regulatory agencies, health and agriculture departments.
Tuesday June 24, 2014/ MoA/ China.