Opinions of the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council on Deepening the Reform and Strengthening Food Safety

Food safety concerns the health and safety of the people and the future of the Chinese nation. The report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China clearly stated that the food safety strategy should be implemented to make sure people have a safe food supply. This is a major deployment for food safety made by the Party Central Committee by focusing on the overall situation of the party and the state, and also a critical task in decisively building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and a modern socialist country. To this end, the following opinions are proposed on deepening reforms and strengthening the food safety.

I. Deeply recognizing the food safety situation
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, based on the overall development for the party and the state and standing at the strategic height of realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has adhered to the people-centered development ideology and has elevated the food safety work to the national holistic strategy deployment of the “Five-Sphere Integrated Plan” and the “Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategies”. A series of major measures have been taken in terms of institutional mechanisms, laws and regulations, industrial planning, and supervision and management. All departments in various regions have conscientiously implemented the decisions and arrangements of the Party Central Committee and the State Council. As a result, the food industry has developed rapidly; the safety standard system has been gradually improved; the inspection and testing capabilities have been continuously raised; the whole process supervision system has been basically established, so that major food safety risks have been controlled. All these efforts have guaranteed the people’s food safety and food safety situation has continued to improve.

However, China’s food safety still faces many difficulties and challenges, and the situation still remains complicated and grim: microbial and heavy metal pollution, excessive residues of pesticides and veterinary drugs, irregular use of additives, and occurrence of production and sales of fake products from time to time. The impact of environmental pollution on food safety has gradually emerged; low cost of breaking the law, high cost of safeguarding rights, inadequate legal system spurred the profit-seeking mindset of the production operators who don’t have responsibility consciousness; the new business and new resources faced potential risks, and the food safety issues brought about by international trade have mounted; there are still some gaps between current food safety standards and the most stringent standards, and the fundamental work such as risk monitoring, assessment and early warning is still weak, which calls for stricter grass-roots supervision and stronger technical means; some government agencies don’t pay attention to food safety, with their responsibility is not clearly defined, and the conflict between safety and development is still obvious. These issues have eroded the people’s sense of gain, happiness and security, emerging as weak links in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and a modern socialist country in an all-round way.

The people’s growing aspiration towards a happy life demands new and higher requirements for strengthening food safety; the need to promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, boosting high-quality development and the implemention of the Healthy China Strategy and the Rural Revival Strategy presented an unprecedented historical opportunity in addressing these food safety issues. We must deepen reform through innovation, and adopt the most stringent standards, the strictest supervision, the most severe punishments, and the most serious accountability to further reinforce food safety and ensure the people “feel assured about the food on the tongue.”

2. General Requirements

(1). Guidelines. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we will comprehensively implement the spirit of the the 19th National Congress of the CPC, 2nd and 3rd Plenary Sessions of the 19th Central Committee, stick to and strengthen the overall leadership of the party, uphold the people-centered development ideology, and focus on coordinating “Five-Sphere Integrated Plan” and promoting the “Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategies” layout, adhere to the general principle of making progress while maintaining stability, follow new development concept, comply with the “Four Most Stringent” requirements, and establish a modern food safety governance system to intensify the supervision of the links from farmland to table, enhance the quality and safety level of food chain, uplift the sense of gain, happiness and security of the people in order to lay a solid foundation for realizing the goal of “Two Hundred Years” and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

(2). Fundamental Principles
——Adhering to safety first. Food safety of the people should be given the highest priority, safety bottom line should be ensured, the relationship between safety and development should be balanced well. In this way, the progress could be made while ensuring food safety.

——Sticking to a problem-oriented approach. Working towards the goal of maintaining and promoting public health, we should start from solving acute problems that the people are generally concerned about. We should take approch of treating both the symptoms and the root causes, and comprehensively implement policies to continuously enhance the sense of security and satisfaction of the people.

——Insisting on prevention first. We should vigorously cultivate awareness of risk prevention, strengthen risk monitoring, risk assessment and supply chain management, and improve the ability to discover and resolve risks.  We also need to take a two-folded approach to grasp production and management at the same time, define the main responsibilities of the production and operation operators, and eliminate the unsafety risk to the greatest extent.

——Conducting supervision in accordance with the law. We will strengthen the concept of the rule of law, improve the laws and regulations, standard systems, rectify the misconduct, intensify inspection and law enforcement to severely punish illegal and criminal acts in accordance with the law, and strictly defend each checking point from farmland to table.

——Pushing forward reform through innovation. We will deepen the reform of the supervision system, develop new way of supervision principal and methods to plug loopholes and strengthen areas of weakness in order to promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity in the food safety.

——Upholding the principal of mutual governance and shared benefits. The producer and operators should consciously perform their main responsibility; the government departments should tighten supervision according to law; the public should be encouraged to actively participate in social supervision so as to create a working pattern under which all parties will perform their duties to jointly monitor, inspect and govern food safety.

(3) Overall Objective

By 2020, a food safety supervision system based on risk analysis and supply chain management should be initially established. The sampling quantity of agricultural products and foods will reach 4 batches/1000 persons. The overall qualified rate of quality and safety monitoring of major agricultural products is stable at over 97%, and the pass rate of food sampling inspection is kept at over 98%. These standards will ensure the regional and systematic food safety risks are basically controlled, therefore, public’s sense of security and satisfaction with food safety will further improve, and the overall level of food safety is basically compatible with the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

By 2035, the national governance system and governance capacity in food safety will be basically modernized. Efforts should be made to see that the level of food safety standards can take a lead globally; the environmental pollution of the production areas could be effectively governed;the sense of responsibility and the awareness of integrity of the producer, and the quality of food safety will be significantly improved; the economic interests-driven food safety crimes will be significantly reduced; the food safety risk management and control capability will reach the international advanced level so that the supervision system of the whole process from farmland to table is effective, which will lead to sound food safety situation and the people can eat healthy food with assurance.

3. Setting up the most rigorous standards
(4) Accelerating the standard establishment and revision. Based on national conditions, we will referenceinternational standard to speed up the establishment and revision of general food safety standards for pesticide residues, veterinary drug residues, heavy metals, food contaminants, pathogenic microorganisms, etc. By 2020, the residue limit index of pesticide and veterinary drug will reach 10,000, which basically meets the international Codex Alimentarius standards. We will accelerate the establishment and revision of industrial development and supervision of food safety basic standards, product standards, and supporting inspection standards. The formulation of standards for food additives and food-related products will be improved. The food labeling standards will be timely revised and improved.

(5) Innovating a standard mechanism. In reference to international food safety standards, the process of national standard for food safety should be simplified and improved, and the revision process should be speed up. Progess should be made in temporary limit value setting mechanism for harmful substances in food. We will establish a corporate standard public commitment system, improve the supporting management system, and encourage enterprises to develop enterprise standards that are stricter than national or local standards. We will also support all parties to participate in the draft and revision of national food safety standards, formulation of international food code standards, assessment and analysis of international emerging hazards and management decisions.

(6) Strengthening the implementation of standards. We will work harder to increase the interpretation, promotion, implementation and training of food safety standards, and urge food producers and operators to accurately understand and apply food safety standards and maintain food safety standards. We will track and evaluate the use of food safety standards, give full play to the basic role of food safety standards to ensure food safety and promote industrial development.

4. Implementating the most stringent supervision
(7) Strictly controlling the environmental safety of the production area. We will launch a major project for the protection of cultivated land soil environment to strengthen the control and restoration of soil pollution, and carry out risk investigation and remediation of contaminated soils in key areas, reinforce air pollution control and increase the control of volatile organic compounds in key industries, further prevent and control water pollution in river basins.

(8) Strictly controlling the production and use of agricultural inputs. We will strictly implement the regulations on the production and use of agricultural inputs such as pesticides and veterinary drugs, feed additives, and rigidly prohibit the use of agricultural inputs that are prohibited by the state, and strictly enforce the fixed-point management and real-name purchase systems. We will extend the ban on high-toxic pesticides to all edible agricultural products. We will implement the agricultural production and operation record system and the agricultural input use record system, and guide farmers to strictly observe the relevant regulations on pesticide safety intervals and veterinary drug withdrawal periods to prevent pesticide residues from exceeding the standards.

(9) Strictly controlling the quality of food purchase and storage. We will strengthen fqualification audit management for food purchase enterprise, urge them to strictly conduct the entry and exit (library) and inventory quality inspection, actively explore the establishment of quality traceability system, enhance capacity building for drying, storage and inspection and monitoring, and provide grain drying storage services for farmers to prevent damage caused by grain mould and spoilage. We will improve the long-term mechanism for excessive grain purchase and disposal, promote harmless treatment and rational use of resources, and strictly prohibit the grain fails to meet food safety standards from entering grain market and food production enterprises.

(10) Strictly controlling the quality of food processing. We will push forward food safety risk grading management of production enterprises, on the basis of the daily supervision and inspection full coverage, conduct a proportional “double random” spot check on general risk enterprises, carry out key inspections on high-risk enterprises, make flight inspections on problem-prone enterprises, and urge enterprises to comply with production process all the time. We will intensify the supervision of special foods such as health foods. System inspection will be gradually expanded from infant formula milk powder to high-risk bulk consumer foods, and efforts will be made to solve problems such as non-compliance in the production process, illegal addition, and excessive use of food additives.

(11) Strictly controlling the quality and safety of circulation sales. We will establish a cold chain distribution system covering the whole chain storage, logistics and distribution, market wholesale, and sales terminal chain, strictly abide by the whole process temperature control standards and norms, trace the accountability of food transportation in transit, and encourage the use of temperature control labels to prevent food from chilling and deterioration. We will urge enterprises to strictly implement the provisions of the inspection and record of the stock and the labeling of warranty period, and rigidly check the refurbishment sales of expired food. We will strictly execute the inspection and quarantine system for livestock and poultry slaughter. We will enhance the supervision of the food centralized trading market, and strengthen the matchmaking between agricultural product origin and market access.
(12) Strictly controlling the quality of catering services. We will comprehensively execute food safety operation standards for catering services, strictly conduct inspection of stock checking procedures, processing operations, cleaning and disinfection, personnel management and other related regulations. Those units offering group dining should establish stable supply channels and traceability records to ensure that purchased raw materials meet food safety standards. We will strictly implement the accountability of the online ordering platform to ensure that the online and offline catering products are of the same quality, and ensure quality and safety of disposable tableware products. All catering units that provide online ordering services must obtain business qualifications of physical store operation.

5. Executing the most severe punishment
(13) Improving laws and regulations. We will study and revise the Food Safety Law and its supporting laws and regulations, revise and improve the criminal law on food safety crimes and penalties, speed up the revision of agricultural product quality and safety laws, study and formulate food security guarantee laws, and integrate the retrospective entry of agricultural products into the law. We will accelerate the improvement of the judicial interpretation of criminal cases that endanger food safety, and promote the “Direct Imprisonment” for counterfeiting and selling of goods that endanger food safety. We will promote the establishment of a food safety judicial appraisal system, clarify the rules of evidence connection, the coordination mechanism for inspection and disposal of suspicious food, the time limit for inspection and the cost and other relevant regulations. We will speed up the judicial interpretation of food safety civil dispute cases, and strictly investigate the civil liability of intentional offenders according to law.

(14) Severely cracking down on illegal crimes. We will implement penalty to liable people and comprehensively apply various legal means to severely punish those responsible for illegal enterprises and their legal representatives, actual controllers, and principal responsible persons, and other directly responsible personnel. We will also substantially increase the illegal cost make sure that illegal enterprise will be banned from operating in food industry for good, and they will be punished more severely in case of recidivism. We will severely crack down on criminal offences to see that criminal cases of food safety that have detrimental impact are severely penalized according to law. We will strengthen the link between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice. Should the administrative law enforcement agency finds the entity suspected of committing a crime and needs to be investigated for criminal responsibility according to law, it shall be transferred to the public security officce in accordance with the relevant provisions of the execution of the sentence, and shall be copied to the procuratorial organ at the same time; if the suspected duty crime is found, it shall be promptly transferred to the supervisory organ. Actively improve food safety civil and administrative public interest litigation, do a good job of coordination and cooperation with civil and administrative litigation, and explore the establishment of a punitive damages system for food safety civil public interest litigation.

(15) Strengthening grass-roots comprehensive law enforcement. We will deepen comprehensive law enforcement reforms, strengthen grass-roots comprehensive law enforcement teams and capacity building, and supply sufficient resources to fulfill duties for food safety supervision. County-level departments in charge of market supervision and their dispatching agencies in townships (sub-district office) must take food safety as their primary responsibility, more law enforcement forces should be designated to front-line positions in order to improve work processes and law enforcement efficiency. Comprehensive agricultural law enforcement should place the protection of agricultural product quality and safety on the top of the agenda. We will intensify law enforcement forces and equipment so that law enforcement supervision could be carried out in down-to-earth manner. Public security and other departments related to agriculture and rural areas, market supervision shall implement the joint supervision system for major cases, and recommend and reward the units and individuals who make outstanding contributions in accordance with relevant state regulations.

(16) Enforcing punishment through the credit system. We will advance the construction of a credit system for food industry enterprises. We are planning to establish a national unified food production and operation enterprise credit file, and incorporate it into the national credit information sharing platform and the national enterprise credit information publicity system. We will purse credit classification management of food production and operation enterprises to further improve the identification mechanism for the list of serious food safety breaches and increase the joint punishment of untrustworthy personnel.

6. Sticking to the most serious accountability
(17) Defining the regulatory powers. Governments at various levels of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government shall, in the light of the actual conditions, formulate a list of food safety regulatory authority according to laws and regulations, and delegate firmly the industrial management responsibilities of various functional departments in food safety. For the supervision and inspection of production enterprises with high product risks and big impact, the investigation and handling of major and complex cases and cross-regional law enforcement shall be organized and coordinated by the provincial regulatory departments in principle, and the supervision departments at the city and county levels may cooperate to implement entrusted supervision, designated supervision, station supervision and other systems to ensure that supervision is effective. In principle, the municipal and county levels supervision authorities shall, in their jurisdiction, undertake food production and operation supervision and law enforcement matters directly affect market entities and consumers and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. Higher-level supervision department shall strengthen the supervision and management of the lower-level supervision departments.

(18) Strengthening the evaluation and assessment. We will perfect the assessment system for food safety of local party committees and governments, and take the results of food safety work assessment as an important index of the comprehensive assessment of party and government leading bodies and leading cadres, as well as an important tool for rewarding and punishing, appointing and adjusting cadres. Provided the assessment fails to meet the requirements, a talk should be conducted with the main person in charge of the local party and government, and urge them to make rectification within a time limit.

(19) Strict accountability. According to the list of regulatory powers, anyone who fulfills the duty will be exempted from liability, while anyone who is negligent will be held accountable. Anyone fails to fulfill his duty in thoroughly implementing the Party Central Committee and the State Council’s decision-making on food safety, as a result of which inflict serious damage to the interests of the state and the people, the relevant leaders shall be held accountable according to the law and regulation. In the case of dereliction of duty, inaction, indiscriminate acts, slow actions, and false acts in the supervision work, the relevant personnel shall be investigated according to the law, and those suspected of committing crimes shall be investigated for criminal responsibility according to law. Those who participate in, cover up, indulge in criminal activities that endanger food safety, falsify and interfere with investigations, and assist in the forgery, concealment, or destruction of evidence shall be subject to legal responsibility.

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