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Half of country's food safety testers not certified

Updated: 2016-07-01 07:53
By Cao Yin (China Daily)

High-level report says some funds for institutes have been wasted, supervision insufficient

Around 460 institutes responsible for food testing under China's food and drug supervisory system - about half the total - have not received certification from the government, according to an inspection report from the nation's top legislature that was released on Thursday.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress evaluated enforcement of the new food safety law in 10 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities from April to May. It found that half the total 921 institutes responsible for food testing are not certified. The new law took effect in October,

Meanwhile, redundant testing institutes have been established in some areas, and many different organs may exist in a single district, the report said.

"While institutes' establishment funds were duplicated, funds for a few testing bodies at universities or academies were wasted," said Zhang De - jiang, the top legislator.

Chen Junshi of the Chinese Academy of Engineering confirmed the problems in establishing the institutes, but said improvement requires some time.

"The China Food and Drug Administration was established just three years ago. Institutes under its authority have to be set up and qualified one after another," Chen said.

Fan Zhihong, a researcher in nutrition and food safety at China Agricultural University, said it's difficult for food testing bodies in rural areas to get certified, and the problem is widespread.

"The categories of food needing to be tested have been rising, but the labor force in these areas, including townships and counties, is insufficient," Fan said. "Plus, food testing requires advanced devices and well-trained institute officers."

She said the government should make use of current institutes for food testing at colleges and academies.

"We can name some qualified third-party institutes to take charge of the testing in one area. If residents live in a place that has no institute, or no certified one, he or she can deliver the food to a different one," she said.

"Our university has a certified institute that can help test the public's food, but the number of testing officers is less than 10, and many have little time," she said.

"If such an institute works and can be asked, as a matter of policy, to pay more attention to testing food for residents, I think it will effectively alleviate the difficulty."

Besides the food testing, the report also said supervision of food workshops and small restaurants has not been sufficient, and some food producers even put fake or substandard additives into food products.

"If these food providers still ignore the problem and local supervisors neglect their duty, the food safety risks will be serious," Zhang said, calling on supervisory departments to play a strong role.


Half of country's food safety testers not certified

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