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July 30, 2011

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Unlicensed roadside food to be banned

GRABBING a street-food breakfast on the way to work could soon become a thing of the past for Shanghai residents, as the unlicensed vendors will be banned starting September 1, when the Shanghai Food Safety Regulation takes effect.

All food sellers will be required to have a license, and while current street vendors can apply for licenses, they must operate their businesses only at designated spots and during certain times.

"We've already set aside designated areas and periods for street vendors, outside of which street food selling are prohibited," said Yan Zuqiang, director of the Shanghai Food Safety Committee.

All vendors must register at their local government or neighborhood committee and apply for a license.

Urban management officers will watch for illegal vendors, who will face fines of 500 yuan (US$77.5) if in violation, Yan said.

The regulation also bans food producers from using expired food as ingredients.

Four Shanghai companies were suspended from food production after the "recycled buns" scandal in April.

The city revoked 360 business licenses in a crackdown triggered by the discovery in April that a company recycled its expired buns and added dyes to make them look new, said Shen Weimin, deputy director of Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision.

According to Yan, companies will be banned from the food industry for five years if they are found violating the clause on expired foods.

Gu Zhenhua, an official with the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration, said authorities will put into citywide use technologies that were used during last year's World Expo, including real-time monitoring systems and the ability to trace food to its origin.


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