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March 29, 2013

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Agency changes boost efficiency

SHANGHAI'S government restructured its food safety watchdog and the health and family planning authority yesterday in an effort to create an efficient government with well-defined responsibilities.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration was reorganized to supervise food production and sales processes previously overseen by the Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision and the Administration for Industry and Commerce, Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong said.

"The reorganization aims to enhance the efficiency of the administration and improve the government's ability to ensure food and drug safety," Yang said.

The new administration, directly under the government, takes charge of investigation and punishment when any food safety issue arises, he said. The Shanghai Food Safety Commission will be supervised by the local FDA and will handle case details.

Before the reorganization, the food and drug agency had to coordinate its actions with both the Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision and the Administration for Industry and Commerce in order to probe or punish companies regarding food and drug safety affairs.

Yan Zuqiang, director of the Food Safety Commission, once complained to local legislators that officials had to include both the quality and commerce watchdogs on any case they were handling. "Now, the food and drug administration can take charge of the supervision and management of the whole process from production to circulation and consumption," Yang said yesterday.

The other governmental body to be reshuffled is the Shanghai Health Bureau and the Population and Family Planning Commission, which were merged into a new Health and Family Planning Commission.

The new commission manages, plans and supervises the city's public health and medical care issues. It also manages and drafts rules on medication and family planning, and organizes the city's Traditional Chinese Medicine bodies, Yang said.

"The commission will also map out middle and long-term strategies for the city's population development," he added.

Jiang Zhuoqing, former deputy secretary general of city government and head of its treasury department, was appointed secretary general of the Shanghai government.


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