Business / Industries

Tougher regulation urged on use of additives

By Wang Hongyi (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-01 09:41

The latest high-profile scandal involving China's food industry surfaced last month when police working across six provinces, including Shandong, Henan and Hubei, revealed they had uncovered the production and sales of dried bean curd sticks tainted with industrial materials.

The authorities closed 17 sites producing the sticks, arrested 41 people and seized 105 metric tons of what turned out to be poisonous material.

Another recent case involved a steamed-bun seller in Lishui of Zhejiang province, who was jailed for 10 months, fined 80,000 yuan ($12,900) and banned from selling food for two years, after using excessive amount of additives to make his buns whiter and softer.

Despite welcoming such actions, experts say the only way to fully restore people's confidence in food additives and their use is to introduce stricter standards and supervision of the food processing industry.

A majority of respondents in the China Youth Daily survey agreed the government should step up its efforts on clamping down on illegal additive use.

"Stricter management and supervision of the entire production process from original sourcing to processing through to supplying would certainly help reduce any risk to food safety," says Chen.

During the plenary session of National People's Congress in March, Premier Li Keqiang said the tightest possible supervision levels should be introduced right across the entire food production chain, and that any offenders should be given the most severe punishments.

The Health and Family Planning Commission has already said it has been working on making improvements to the country's food safety system, to bring it fully in line with international standards.

New compulsory national rules on food safety standards are now expected to be published in 2015, along with a website which will offer the public information on food additives and how they are used.

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