China unveils recall systems for unsafe food, toys

Updated: 2007-08-31 15:46

China's quality watchdog on Friday introduced the nation's landmark recall systems for unsafe food products and toys amid efforts to improve product safety.

The two regulations, following the introduction of recall system for defective automobiles in 2005, went into effect on Friday.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ) stated the recall systems were culmination of recent regulations on the supervision of product quality and food safety promulgated by the State Council, or cabinet.

The regulations state clearly that producers must take the prior and major responsibilities for preventing and eliminating unsafe food and toys. This would push them to enhance product safety awareness and step up efforts on quality management, the AQSIQ stated.

The regulations require manufacturers to stop production and sales, notify vendors and customers, and report to the quality control authorities when product defects are found.

The regulations, however, did not specify how the producers should notify the vendors and customers.

The vendors should also stop sales and notify their suppliers or producers when the products are found with safety problems.

The producers are subject to fines of up to triple the product value and vendors to fines from 1,000 to 50,000 yuan for failure to do as required, Liu Zhaobin, chief of the AQSIQ's department of policy and regulation.

The manufacturers are also ordered to take all necessary timely measures, including replacing or refunding to mitigate the effects brought about by unsafe food and toys.

The producers should launch timely investigations into and evaluation on the defects, and when necessary, the quality watchdogs at and above the provincial levels should supervise.

Food producers are required to set up archives recording all information on food production and sales and ensure that root causes of safety problems can be found immediately.

Toy firms should stop production and sales and recall products when defects are found in their toys even if they meet the nation's quality safety laws, regulations, and compulsory standards.

The government took all the measures after the safety of China-made products became a major concern at home and abroad with frequent product safety scares.

The scares ranged from ducks and hens that were fed cancer-causing Sudan Red dye to make their egg yolks red, to pet food made of melamine-tainted wheat protein that killed scores of dogs and cats in the United States.

The AQSIQ acknowledged that the recall systems supplemented China's legal system on product safety supervision and management.

The recall systems, coupled with market access systems, would help to strengthen the government's supervision of product safety and tackle product safety emergencies more effectively.

"The recall systems are common international practices and I'm sure they will be supported and welcomed by the customers," Liu said.


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