Business / Industries

Local watchdogs empowered in food safety shake-up

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-01-27 11:18

SHANGHAI - Chinese provincial governments are quickly empowering local food safety watchdogs in line with the requirements of the central government to prevent food scandals.

Since the China Food and Drug Administration was launched during the cabinet restructuring of last March to supervise the full process of food production, circulation and consumption, a primary mission of provincial governments has been to correspondingly restructure their food safety monitoring mechanism.

During the reshuffle, the functions of quality inspection departments are intensified as they gain food safety jurisdiction previously held by health as well as industry and commerce departments.

To make sure the reshuffle runs smoothly and efficiently, the China Food and Drug Administration has sent out work teams to various provinces.

While inspecting the work in Central China's Hunan province in mid-January, Liu Peizhi, vice-minister of the administration, urged provincial governments to complete the reshuffle as quickly as possible on the premise that the restructured outfits could have sufficient resources to fulfill the mission of the administration.

The administration is yet to announce the progress of the nationwide restructuring.

However, Li Hongyuan, director of the food and drug administration of Xiamen City in East China's Fujian province, was quoted by the Xiamen Daily as saying that more than two-thirds of 31 provincial regions in the Chinese mainland have completed relevant restructuring so far.

Yan Zuqiang, chief of the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration, said that one goal of the restructuring was to increase the number of grassroots inspectors.

Describing the human resources structure of the old monitoring mechanism as "olive-shaped," with the higher management on the top and grassroots inspectors on the bottom largely outnumbered by middle management, Yan said that law enforcement at the grassroots level has been very weak.

After the restructuring, he said, the number of local grassroots inspectors in Shanghai had risen to 1,700, representing the bulk of the city bureau's staff.

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