UN Issues Paper On Food Safety In China

October 24, 2008 | Print | Email Email | Comments | Category: Business & Society

The United Nations has published a paper on food safety in China. The paper sets out recommendations for areas where China can focus on making improvements in the food safety system.

The paper was released the day before the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress was scheduled to review a draft law on food safety.

Dr. Jorgen Schlundt, director of the Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases at WHO Headquarters, stated that food safety systems are always a work in progress, no matter what country one is talking about. However he added that there are certainly key areas where China can focus for improvement.

The UN is particularly well placed to offer China advice on this issue. The paper draws on the experience and expertise of various UN Agencies. It set out in-depth analysis of the food safety situation in China and puts forward proposals for improving the system as China moves forward in the fields of food safety legislation, management, inspection and enforcement, trade dimensions, monitoring and surveillance, communication and international cooperation.

The paper outlines key challenges such as the need for a more modern food safety law; ambiguities over management and supervisory responsibilities within the system; the need for improved monitoring, inspection and enforcement; the need for education and training of a wide variety of stakeholders which include households, food industry and enforcing agencies; and continuing to improve standards to bring the country in line with international norms.

"The most recent food safety incident is an example of what can go wrong, even within a system that has started to work on improvement," said Dr Schlundt. "Our recommendations, address many of the problems China has already acknowledged."

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