The bi-monthly legislative session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, being held Monday through Saturday in Beijing, is considering a draft revision to China’s food safety laws that would include detention for offenders. Anyone who adds inedible substances to foods could go to jail for up to 15 days, states the submitted bill language. Current law mandates fines and certificate revocation for such violations, so “administrative detention” (imposed by police without court proceedings) is considered a tough penalty in China. Those suspected of committing more serious offenses would be subject to China’s criminal law. Lawmakers had argued in August that the current food safety law is not clear about what action should be considered a criminal offense. The draft bill also adds punishments for adding expired material or additives to products. A high-profile event occurred back in July when Shanghai Husi Food Co., which supplied McDonald’s and KFC, was found to be using reprocessed expired meat in its products. Six of the company’s senior executives were subsequently arrested. The fine for producers would be 10 to 20 times the total product value if worth more than 10,000 yuan ($1,600). For products worth less than that, the fine would be 50,000 to 100,000 yuan (approximately $8,000 to $16,000). Production certificates would be revoked for serious offenses. The latest version of the bill also allows for the prosecution of anyone who leases out production sites and allows illegal activities on their property, but it exempts distributors from punishment if they can show they followed procedure and were unaware of suppliers’ practices. The bill would also require producers to label products that contain any genetically modified ingredients. A member of the committee noted that the public needs more specific labeling information since general awareness of the issue is not as high as it could be. “Labeling does not mean that genetically modified foods are unsafe, but the public might not see it that way,” said Xu Weigang.