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New campaign inspired by national food safety week

(Global Times)

08:50, June 12, 2012

With the goal of building Shanghai into a city with China's best food quality, local authorities launched a new food safety campaign Monday, on the first day of National Food Safety Week.

Among the organized activities to raise public awareness on food safety and promote safer food practices, the city's food safety inspectors will randomly visit restaurants in the coming weeks to ensure that owners are abiding by food safety standards, authorities said Monday.

A new organization, Shanghai Food Security Association, was also introduced Monday. It essentially brings 30 independent food industry associations together under one umbrella with the aim of strengthening overall supervision of foods in the city, said authorities.

Food safety officials also announced plans to roll out a new online partnership with popular restaurant review website, where customers will in the coming months be able to search out official food safety ratings for their favorite restaurants.

The city's food safety rating system started five years ago applies to all of the city's some 40,000 licensed restaurants. Last year, 22 percent of them received a "smiley face" status, putting them at the highest rank for food safety, while a majority 66 percent of them scored "average." Ten percent of them had "sad faces," meaning their eateries posed food safety risks.

Local food safety authorities also took the opportunity Monday to highlight food safety achievements in the city last year, saying that some 3,200 cases involving food safety problems were filed in the first five months of the year and resulted in confiscating unauthorized food revenues of 19.25 million yuan ($3.05 million).

The city has also prohibited cooking oil from being sold in bulk, in a bid to uproot the usage of the notorious "gutter oil." Some 247 illegal dealers of cooking oil have been caught, and another 575 merchants were penalized since the rules took effect in May of last year.


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