Food recall system to be set up

By Xie Chuanjiao and Hu Yinan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-29 06:54

China will release the country's first regulation on food recall by the end of this year as part of efforts to improve food safety, a senior official has said.

The move by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine comes in response to a recent spate of food safety scandals.

Wu Jianping, director general of the food production and supervision department of the administration, told China Daily that the recall system mainly targets potentially dangerous and unapproved food products.

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The regulation - whose final draft will be ready by the end of the year and will be in line with international practices - stipulates that food production and sales companies should take back their products which are confirmed to endanger people's health, Wu said.

"All domestic and foreign food producers and distributors will be obliged to follow the system," he said.

Till now, only one section in a regulation on product inspection - issued in 2002 - touches upon food recall and the need for such a system.

Among major food recall cases are enterobacter sakazakii-affected Wyeth milk powder in 2002 and Sudan-red related products in 2005.

"Implementing the recall system for all food products will be a gradual process," Wu emphasized.

Despite tainted-food scandals in recent years, the official said the quality of food products in China has been on the rise, especially after the country set standards for food-related products in 2002.

To date, more than 525 kinds of food products in 28 categories, and more than 80,000 food enterprises have acquired market access permits.

This year, another seven categories, such as food utensils, additives, detergents and disinfectants, will be required to get market permits.

In a related development, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) plans to blacklist food producers which break rules; and serious violators could be barred from the market.

The SFDA yesterday launched a nationwide campaign on drug safety inspection. From May 28 to June 8, a total of 90 officials will be sent to 15 provinces.

(China Daily 05/29/2007 page1)

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