Cracking Down on Additives
02 Mar 2009
China’s New Food Law.
A strict food safety law aimed at food additives has been passed in China.
As of June 1, no additives will be allowed in food unless they are proven to be safe.
“At present, China’s food security situation remains grim, with high risks and contradictions popping out,” the Ministry of Health said in a press release.
Last year an additive used in infant formula called melamine was at the center of a tainted milk scandal following the deaths of at least six children. Melamine was used to give falsely high protein readings but caused kidney stones and other illnesses in about 300,000 children.
In January two people were sentenced to death and three others to life in prison for endangering public safety.
The new law consolidates hundreds of separate regulations and statues that China’s 500,000 food-processing firms were supposed to be following.
It also includes a system for monitoring and supervision, national standards for safety, a system for food recall and severe discipline for offenders. Companies and individuals can also be held liable for medical and other compensations.
The State Council, China’s Cabinet, will also set up a state-level food safety commission. Right now food safety is overseen by a number of different agencies.
Chen Xiaohong, the Vice Health Minister, said that since the law holds food producers primarily responsible for any problems, the government is confident that the law will improve food safety.
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