Govt urged to strengthen food safety

13:41, May 18, 2011      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Most people in China expect governments at all levels to take more responsibility for ensuring their food is safe, according to a recent poll.

The survey conducted by China Youth Daily solicited the online opinions of 3,802 people.

Some 89.5 percent of respondents welcomed the fact that government officials will now be graded on how well they tackle the food safety issue.

The response came after municipal governments in Beijing and Shanghai and provincial governments in Zhejiang and Guangdong announced on Saturday that the safety of local food will now be part of the evaluation of officials' work.

"I am very disappointed by these frequent scandals about food safety," said Sun Rong, a retired worker and mother from Qingdao, in East China's Shandong province.

"How can we avoid these illegal additives? We cannot grow vegetables or raise pigs by ourselves. It's absolutely the governments' duty to guarantee food safety."

Sang Liwei, a food-safety lawyer and the China representative of the NGO Global Food Safety Forum, agreed.

"The government plays the role of a father, supervising the children - the enterprises - at the market. When children do something wrong, the father must be blamed as well."

About 94 percent of respondents said food safety problems were related to passive enforcement, meaning the governments responded to violations only after they were exposed.

"Undefined accountability is an important reason for passive enforcement," said Hu Xingdou, a professor of economics at the Beijing Institute of Technology.

About 13 ministries and departments have partial responsibility for food safety, according to an announcement released by the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform.

"Tying their record on food safety to their evaluations will be an effective way to motivate officials to supervise the food industry," Hu said. "Besides, enterprises that violate food safety laws should be punished more severely. A higher cost will be a deterrent."

Innovation of the supervision system was also called for.

Sang Liwei suggested that to improve analysis of the food industry, a new job of professional food safety surveyor should be developed in China.

These professionals could then assist governments and ensure they have the latest information about food safety violations, Sang said.

Source:China Daily
BRICS Leaders Meeting 2011
Japan in aftershocks
  Weekly review  
May 12   No winners in U.S. hi-tech export controls
May 12   China should view livelihood issues from strategic perspective
May 11   Syria will not be another Libya
May 06   Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway to launch 10-day trial run
May 14   The week in pictures
May 11   2000-year-old wine unearthed in Henan province
May 11   Scientist: China plans to build lunar research base
May 09   Apple employee, customer reach settlement after Beijing iPad brawl
May 12   Wenchuan Reconstruction: 'Chinese miracle' impresses world
May 12   No winners in U.S. hi-tech export controls


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • 3rd Anniversary Of Wenchuan Earthquake
  • Third China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Sick wild turtle treated at hospital in N China
  • Andrea Bocelli holds concert in Taipei
  • Christie's Hong Kong Spring sales ready
  • Gathering held in rebel stronghold Benghazi in Libya
  • 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup draw announced
  • Djokovic arrives for screening of "The Beaver" at Cannes
Hot Forum Dicussion