China Food Safety: Stricter Penalties and FBO Responsibility

Posted By: Selerant RSA

On December 9, 2015, China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) released draft regulation “Food Safety Law Implementation Measures”. The Regulation draft will be open for public comments until January 8, 2016.

According to the requirement set in the 2015 Food Safety Law, to establish scientific, strict supervision and management system, the draft regulation aims to supplement and improve the current food safety law implementation measures. Main changes relate to the responsibility of the food business operators (FBOs), clearer division of competencies between the authorities and stricter penalties for infringers.   


The regulation is aimed at strengthening the overall food safety system. The draft specifies details on information exchange related to food safety risk monitoring. It also upgrades procedures related to food safety risk assessment and drafting food safety standards. The restriction of food additive in food for catering purposes is encouraged and it should be established through joint cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the CFDA.

The draft emphasizes the responsibility of the food business operators. It specifies details on obligations of the food manufacturers, food storage and transport operators, food safety management personnel. It also introduces improvements related to the system of food manufacturing, food traceability and process control for food.

There are provisions related to the organisation and improvement of the enforcement of food safety laws. The draft clearly specifies the division of responsibilities between the authorities, defining the relation between the competent authority (or the CFDA) and the Ministry of public security, when bringing forward food safety cases to the court or when delivering related evidence.

The draft also specifies details related to private sector participation in the assurance of the food safety system. It encourages the participation of third-party or industry associations in food safety risk monitoring, food operator self-check and the evaluation of testing methods. The draft also introduces food safety judicial authentication system, by listing authorities and public functions in charge of court cases related to food safety issues.

In terms of penalty provisions, the draft defines penalties related to the infringements of the food safety law. The draft specifies legal liability defined in food safety law, defines “serious” situation, adds a provision stating that intentional illegal behaviour shall be given heavier punishment.

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