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Latest Progress of Monitoring on Food Safety in Circulation

State Administration for Industry and Commerce

September 18, 2007

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council always attach great importance to the work of food safety and have established a working mechanism for food safety in conjunction with the uniform leadership of the central government, undertaking of responsibility by local governments, coordination of different departments and joint actions of different groups. Based on the principle of solving both facial and fundamental problems, combining prevention with cracking down on illegal incidents and overall treatment, we consider crackdown on the illegal actions such as manufacturing or distributing counterfeit food products as the key point in market rectification toward ensuring the health and safety of the public.

As stipulated in the Decision of the State Council on Further Reinforcing the Work of Food Safety, the AICs are responsible for monitoring of food safety in the circulation process. Ever since 2006, following the deployment of the State Council and the National Leading Group for Market Rectification, the AICs carried out the Special Regulations of the State Council on Enhancing Supervision and Administration of Products Including Food Products. With safeguarding consumer safety of food products in circulation as our goal, we have strengthened our organization and leadership and launched special campaigns for food safety in the circulation process, and have achieved remarkable results, which has further perfected the food market order, effectively protected consumer food safety, enhanced the consumer confidence of the public and played a positive role in promoting the quality and rapid development of social economy.

I. Strictly carry out enforcement concerning market access of food operators and standardize the qualifications of food operators.

Based on the actions conducted in the past few years to standardize the qualifications of food operators, SAIC launched a special rectification campaign throughout China in 2006. The AICs conducted examinations one by one at the sites of companies and self-employed engaged in food production and operation through annual inspections, permit examinations of individual dealers and daily market examinations, through which the conditions of food operators were made clear and the classified creditability monitoring and economic hukou administration mechanism were perfected. Meanwhile, the AICs strengthened examination and punishment for the operations without business permits and standardized market access procedures for food operators, laying a solid foundation for effective monitoring. According to the statistics, there are a total of 4.693 million food operators in China. Among them, 96,800 enterprises and 345,900 self-employed are food manufacturers or processors, 345,800 enterprises and 2.5394 million self-employed are distributors, wholesalers or retailers, and 135,500 enterprises and 1.2297 million self-employed are operators in catering industry. By the end of June, 2007, 16.4072 million food operators were examined by the AICs.

II. Perform in-depth special inspection of food safety and effectively safeguard consumer food safety in marketplaces.

In accordance with the unified deployment of the SAIC, the AICs nation wide activated special campaigns for inspection of food markets in which urban communities and fringe areas comprised the main scope, while stores, supermarkets, fairs and wholesale markets comprised key spots, and Labor Day, National Day, Mid Autumn Festival, New Year Festival and Spring Festival were treated as key festivals. Meanwhile, following the unified deployment of the State Council, the SAIC in cooperation with other authorities concerned performed a special inspection on liquid milk market and launched nationwide emergency inspections targeted at accidents related to food safety occurring in the market, effectively safeguarding consumer safety in food market.

III. Reinforce daily monitoring of grassroots AIC offices on food market and improve daily monitoring capability.

Following the Regulations on Monitoring and Administration of Grassroots Offices of Administration for Industry and Commerce on Food Safety and relevant enforcement requirements issued by the SAIC, the AICs at various levels carefully carried out their monitoring tasks and responsibilities and strengthened Five Do's in their monitoring work, e.g. do complete the economic hukou administration and classified creditability monitoring of food operators; do accomplish classification of monitoring areas, responsible persons and circular market inspection; do set up and carry out quality monitoring and supervisory systems and self-disciplinary mechanisms; do examine and punish violence and terminate operations that do not possess permits; do establish acceptance mechanism for consumer complaints as well as pre-warning and emergency response mechanisms. A total of 21,000 grassroots AIC offices have set up circular inspection mechanisms, including Two Maps Plus One Letter (referring to the layout map of food operators, the map of coverage areas assigned to monitors and the Responsibility Letter for Food Safety signed between AICs and food Operators) in addition to One Account Plus One Card (referring to the registration desk account and the economic hukou card set by AICs for each food producer). Furthermore, nearly 20,000 grassroots AIC offices have established classified monitoring systems for food quality. At the same time, the grassroots AIC offices nationwide have improved their monitoring and inspection approaches for food safety and launched relevant food safety monitoring information systems to improve the scientific basis and level of modernization of daily monitoring conducted at the fundamental level.

IV. Reinforce the thorough monitoring on food throughout its market access, transaction and withdrawal and food quality is under remarkable improvement.

The AICs at various levels deemed the monitoring of food quality as top priority of food safety and conducted thorough monitoring of food quality throughout market access to transaction and withdrawal processes to improve the level of food quality. By urging the food operators to implement self-disciplinary regulations, the AICs standardized the market access of food products. The grassroots AIC offices signed commitment letters of food safety with local food operators and corrected operators' malpractices related to qualifications of operation, inspection of purchased products, food quality, logos used on packaging, and trademark and advertisement. At the same time, we reinforced our monitoring of food quality and food markets. The AICs at various levels set up a monitoring system integrating self-inspection of the operators, delivery inspection among consumers and sample inspection of the AICs, thus forming a rapid inspection system containing linked inspections of AICs at the provincial level, municipal level, county level and grassroots level. The SAIC has set up direct reporting units on food safety monitoring data in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. We continued to advance the construction of classified monitoring systems for food products and banned disqualified food products in the market in a timely and effective manner. The AICs adopted distinct monitoring methods for various types of food products, promptly publicized the information of disqualified food products while performing relevant examination and punishment pertaining to disqualified food products discovered through market patrol, quality monitoring and rapid testing, and forced the operators to suspend sales and to recall sold items.

V. Facilitate legislation and long-term efficacy of monitoring mechanisms construction for food safety and improve the standardization of food market administration.

In recent years, the AICs paid great attention to innovation and made aggressive exploration of long-term efficacy of monitoring system for food safety in the circulation process, which integrated the monitoring of AICs, the self discipline of the operators and the supervision of society. In addition to accelerating the legislation process, the AICs continued to advance the construction of monitoring systems including market access mechanisms, market circular inspection mechanisms, quality supervision mechanisms, classified quality monitoring mechanisms, withdrawal mechanisms of disqualified food operators and disclosure mechanisms for food safety information, while continually urging the food operators to set up and implement self-disciplinary mechanisms including inspection of purchased products, desk accounts of buying and selling, quality commitment, agreement access and an overall spirit of responsibility toward quality. Meanwhile, we further reinforced the construction of pre-warning and rapid response capability for food safety, including "12315" food safety monitoring network and social monitoring mechanisms. New steps were adopted for the construction of food safety monitoring mechanisms, providing systematic assurance of consumer safety in the food market. Up to now, among the enterprises and self-employed engaging in food marketing, 2.133 million, 1.985 million and 2.046 million have established mechanisms of inspection on purchased products, desk account for buying and selling, and quality commitment respectively. Among the food stores, supermarkets, fairs and wholesale markets throughout the country, 81,000, 52,000, 82,000 and 98,000 have set up agreement access mechanism, quality responsibility mechanism of market owner, quality self-inspection mechanism and withdrawal mechanism of disqualified food products respectively.

Market rectification is a long-term task. Based on accomplishments thus far, the AICs will follow the general deployment of the State Council on the special campaign for food safety and cooperate with other authorities concerned to continue to strengthen the hukou administration of food operators and clarify the responsibilities of food operators as they pertain to quality administration. By advancing the special campaign for product quality and food safety and the activities of Food Market Regulation Year in Rural Area, we will make new contributions to safeguard market economic order, consumer safety of the public and the construction of a harmonious socialist society, and will meet with the opening of the 17th session of the CPC National Congress with an outstanding record of achievement.

(China Development Gateway September 18, 2007)

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