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BEIJING -- The State Council on Tuesday announced a decision to markedly improve food safety, aiming to effectively solve prominent problems in three years.
According to a State Council statement posted online, the government also aims to establish a better regulation mechanism, legal and standard system as well as technical support for food safety and improve the overall food safety management level of the food industry in around five years.
Food safety will become a measure of local governments' performance in their annual assessment for the first time, the statement said.
A database of food safety records of food companies will be established and those on the black list will be disclosed and punished, it said.
Authorities must prevent expired food products from returning to the market, while consumers will be rewarded in cash for reporting illegal acts.
The Chinese public has become increasingly concerned over food safety after a slew of scares -- from melamine-tainted baby formula products to pork contaminated with clenbuterol -- exposed the vulnerability of the country's food sector.
Authorities detected 15,000 cases of substandard food and shut down 5,700 unlicensed businesses during their inspections on food businesses across the country since the beginning of 2012, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce said last month.
Dairy products, edible oils, seasonal foods and alcoholic beverages were among the major food categories targeted during the inspections.