The story appears on

Page A5

June 12, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Society

Food safety official says penalties too weak

PENALTIES for perpetrators of food safety scandals are not harsh enough to prevent cases occurring repeatedly in the city, a senior food safety watchdog official said yesterday.

"I am not satisfied with the current administrative punishments for violators because they are not enough to scare off violators," said Gu Zhenhua, vice director of the Shanghai Food Safety Office.

According to China's food safety laws, violators face fines of, at most, 10 times the value of the products they sell or a maximum of 100,000 yuan (US$16,129) if the value of products can't be determined.

Only in the most serious of cases will violators be ordered to suspend operations, have their business certificates revoked or face criminal punishment.

Gu said the 10-times figure was not a big deal for violators, but based on the current law, there was no way to impose a tougher penalty.

Since January last year, the authorities have imposed fines in about 5,000 food scandal cases in the city, but only 121 cases were ruled as food-related crimes, meaning cases where the violators could face jail.

Based on figures for this year, a fine imposed for a food safety violation was just 6,015 yuan on average.

There was support for Gu's views on the Internet. One microblogger said violators should be fined "until they go bankrupt" and be banned from the food industry for life.

In a "dyed buns" scandal in Shanghai last year, the owner of Shanghai Shenglu Food Co Ltd, which sold dyed buns to local supermarkets, was given a nine-year jail sentence and fined 650,000 yuan.

Gu said authorities would step up efforts to help people become more knowledgeable about the information on food packaging, such as the code names of different additives, as many of them are identified by codes rather than their names.

This leads to confusion and consumers having to check the Internet to find out what the codes mean, Gu said.

He also suggested people avoid eateries which do not display the city's "faces" signs.

Local eateries are examined and graded before being allowed to display signs with either a smiling face, a plain face or a crying face.

A smiling face means good hygiene while a crying face is an indication of the opposite.

"Be careful when face signs are not found as 80 to 90 percent of those eateries whose signs are missing may have a crying face sign which is being hidden by the operator," Gu said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend