Shake up on the cards for food and drug safety

Updated: 2013-03-11 10:59

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

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China will upgrade its existing State Food and Drug Administration to improve safety standards for foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals, according to a report delivered by State Councilor Ma Kai to the annual session of the country's top legislative body on Sunday.

The changes are part of a series of ongoing reforms to cut red tape and reduce administrative intervention in the market.

The new body, the ministry-level General Administration of Food and Drugs, will be responsible for unified supervision of standards for food and drug safety and quality in production, distribution and consumption, said the report, which emphasized that overlapping supervision by different departments and a number of supervisory "blind spots" are the weak links in the current supervisory system.

"The restructuring will better facilitate the enforcement of the food safety laws and regulations and improve the safety of the nation's food and drugs," said Chen Xiaohong, vice-minister of health and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

In the Government Work Report delivered on Tuesday at the opening of the 12th National People's Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao said China still faces great challenges on food safety and called for the regulatory and supervisory systems to be reformed and improved.

Wen urged the greater coordination and integration of government efforts and corporate accountability to ensure food safety. "From production to consumption, the whole process needs to be supervised," he said.

"Integrated control and supervision are now required to fit the national situation and help reduce management costs," Chen said.

According to Chen, the general principles governing the restructuring include ensuring that individual departments have overall control of each process to avoid split responsibilities that could lead to inefficiencies.

Shake up on the cards for food and drug safety

Shake up on the cards for food and drug safety

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