In another attempt to calm consumer fears, China released a five-year plan last week to upgrade its food safety regulations.
According to the government, the new plan by the country’s Ministry of Health is aimed at revamping outdated standards, which includes “reviewing and abolishing any contradicting or overlapping standards” and writing new ones. The framework was announced on the heels of China’s Food Safety Week.
Though scandals continue to dog consumers and the government, China is not lacking for regulations. The country has more than 2,000 national food regulations and more than 2,900 industry-based regulations.
“Many of the regulations are overlapping or contradict each other, since multiple government agencies were given the responsibility of compiling their own standards years ago,” said the government, in a statement released Friday.
The plan calls for coordination between 14 different government departments — including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture — to complete reviewing and revamping the existing standards by 2015.
The plan admits that the country “is still suffering from the absence of several major food safety regulations.”
“The government will prioritize safety standards for dairy products, infant food, meat, alcohol, vegetable oil, seasoning, health products and food additives so as to specify limits for dangerous ingredients in these foods,” according to the release. “Moreover, the government will make special efforts to set standards for testing various contaminants, food additives, microorganisms, pesticide and animal drug residue in food production by 2015.”
China has faced a slew of high profile scandals that have made Chinese consumers nervous about their food supply. The most recent was the discovery of an “unusual amount” of mercury found in baby formula produced by Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., one of China’s biggest dairy companies.
The company reportedly started to recall the products last Wednesday.© Food Safety News