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First food safety law comes into force today

CHINA'S first food safety law comes into force today, with tougher penalties for producing tainted foods.

The new act, passed on February 28, establishes a recall system as well as a Cabinet-level agency based in the Ministry of Health in charge of monitoring.

Consumers are entitled to compensation worth 10 times the price they paid for tainted food under the new law.

Materials not included in an approved food additive list are banned. Manufacturers need to list all the additives on food packaging or face penalties.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, abolished inspection exemptions after melamine-tainted formula made by Sanlu Group and other dairy makers affected some 294,000 Chinese infants and killed six, but the tests and inspections food manufacturers must undergo will be provided free.

The regulation also bans manufacturers of health foods from promoting the therapeutic effectiveness of their products on the labels.

China launched a crackdown on substandard food manufacturers as part of its efforts to improve food safety.

Sanlu had to recall 700 tons of powdered milk tainted with melamine, a chemical that can cause kidney stones and other complications, received a bankruptcy order, and four of its top executives were jailed in January.

Also under the new law, the food and drug administration will replace the health authority as watchdog over the country's restaurants. A new restaurant service license is necessary for future restaurants from today instead of the current food hygiene license.


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