In the wake of several high-profile food safety scandals, China’s top legislature is considering amending its criminal code to stiffen the penalties for food safety crimes.
The amendment would allow public servants “responsible for supervising and managing food safety” to face up to 10 years in jail for “dereliction of duty or abuse of power” in a severe foods safety breach, according to official Chinese media Xinhua. Current criminal law addresses dereliction of duty and abuse of power but does not specifically address food safety violations.
The draft being considered would allow for prosecution if a business owner sells harmful food products, even in cases were no one is sickened.
The Commission for Legislative Affairs of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) argues that the amendment would protect people’s livelihood. The Standing Committee is expected to consider the provision at its bimonthly meeting, Xinhua reported.