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October 20, 2020

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Platform for regulators to ensure expo food safety

AN upgraded supervision and management platform will help market regulators monitor food safety, pricing and advertising during the third China International Import Expo in Shanghai next month.

The platform established by the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation will also cover elevators, patrols and emergency guidance.

Using the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data, it has collected information on nearly 200 food companies related to the CIIE, 419 elevators inside the National Exhibition and Convention Center and more than 3,000 exhibitors.

It includes real-time video surveillance of kitchens and food processing areas of restaurants serving the CIIE, licensing information of food suppliers, food tracking information and waste oil information.

“With technologies such as artificial intelligence, the platform can spot irregularities such as strangers entering kitchens and sanitation problems at 73 catering businesses inside the CIIE venue and alert officials immediately,” said Qiu Congqian, an official with the administration’s food operation department.

“Recently, a mouse entered the kitchen of a restaurant at midnight, and the platform spotted it and alerted officials and its operator in real time,” said Qiu.

The platform also features information on elevators and escalators covering breakdowns, repair and maintenance, and the results of previous checks.

Problems with elevators and escalators inside the venue, breakdowns or anything seen as potentially dangerous, will send out an alarm to officials and repair and maintenance personnel automatically.

Officials, enterprises and the public can follow market regulation updates regarding the CIIE on their phones via a WeChat program linked with the platform. The public can obtain information and inspection results by scanning a QR code at catering businesses inside the CIIE venue.

“They are also encouraged to make remarks and complaints on catering services and tip off food safety problems via the program,” said Qiu.

“The platform includes cold-storage food management, special equipment and drugs and also involves prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Zhang Zhunmin, a counselor with the administration.

He said free tasting of imported cold-storage foods such as salmon and tuna — which were popular in previous expos — will be prohibited due to the novel coronavirus.

“We will conduct strict sample tests on cold-chain foods and the nucleic acid tests will also cover their packages and relevant equipment,” said Zhang.

Cold-storage foods imported for the CIIE will be transported via special vehicles and stored together at designated warehouses under strict scrutiny, with relevant materials checked and nucleic acid tests conducted after undergoing customs procedures, Zhang said.

Catering businesses and hotels serving the CIIE are recommended to use domestic cold-chain foods, he said.

Staff training has been held, and authorities have been conducting checks on cold-chain foods at city supermarkets for months, Zhang added.


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