China may set up a more "rigorous" supervision system covering food and drug safety this year, a senior police officer has said.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Hua Jingfeng, an official with the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), made the remarks without giving specifics, but said harsh punishments would be handed down to those who violate food and drug safety laws.
Chinese media speculated that a food and drug safety police division could be established. The MPS told Xinhua on Saturday that work was at a theoretical stage.
Also at Friday's press conference, Mao Zhenbin, a senior official with the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), said the administration worked closely with police authorities last year. More than 43,000 food and drug related criminal cases were cracked, and over 60,000 suspects captured.
Mao said the battle to identify food and drug offences was challenging, as traditional workshop-style production was now cross-regional involving networks, which made investigation more difficult and costly.
Online sales of fake and shoddy food and drug products were rampant, Mao added.