China reviews food safety draft law 2008-10-23 16:52:28   Print

    BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislature on Thursday started to review a draft law on food safety, which sets stricter food quality standards and demands greater government responsibility.

    The draft, which was revised after the recent contaminated dairy products scandal, would ban all chemicals and materials other than authorized additives in food production.

    Health authorities are responsible for assessing and approving food additives and setting their usage. "Only those proved to be safe and necessary in food production are allowed to be listed as food additives," the draft says.

    Food producers must strictly stick to the food additives and their usage approved by authorities, according to the draft

    In the tainted dairy products scandal, melamine, often used in the manufacturing of plastics, was added to sub-standard or diluted milk to make protein levels appear higher. At least three infants died and more than 50,000 were sickened after drinking the contaminated milk.

    The draft also prohibits food safety supervision authorities from issuing inspection exemptions to food producers.

    China began exempting companies producing globally-competitive products from quality inspections in 2000 to help them avoid repeated examinations and reduce their burden.

    The practice encountered severe criticism when it was discovered that many of the companies producing and selling melamine-tainted dairy products had national inspection exemption qualifications.

    The draft was tabled to lawmakers at a bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC).

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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