February 28, 2009

China approves food safety law

Chinese lawmakers approved legislation Saturday aimed at ensuring food safety, officials said.

The law, which goes into effect June 1, will increase government monitoring and supervision, boost safety standards and recall substandard products, Xinhua reported.

The law also provides for stiff penalties for offenders, the state-run news service said.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee approved the plan during a four-day session marked by intense debate.

The plan will establish a state-level food safety commission to oversee the entire food monitoring system. Xinhua said the departments of health, agriculture, quality supervision, industry and commerce administration will share enforcement of the law.

The news service noted that scofflaws could face fines up to 10 times the value of sold products.

Moreover, if businesses are found producing or selling a substandard food product, consumers can ask for financial compensation up to 10 times the price of the product.