The system is designed to ensure food safety accidents or potential food safety accidents at regional level are reported swiftly and accurately. According to the China State News Agency: “The time to respond to the report should be no more than six hours, and no party or individual shall conceal, lie, or delay the reporting of food accidents.”
Any food-related accident that involves more than 30 people must be reported to the local food administration department within six hours.
Accidents involving more than 100 people or cause more than one death and those that occur in schools or during national events should be reported to the local health department and the food and drug administration of a higher level within six hours. They should also be reported to the Chna State Food and Drug Administration in a timely manner, said the guidelines.
Regional (above county level) food and drug administrations are empowered to investigate food service providers who are obliged to provide food samples and information. Regional administrators will be allowed to take some provisional measures including, but not limited to, isolating the food and materials that may be related to the accident, sealing contaminated tools, and disclosing information about the accident.
The new rules require food service providers to report any food related accidents within two hours to the local supervision departments and to take effective measures to coordinate the investigation of the accidents.
Food Safety Commission
Meanwhile, earlier this year China announced plans to launch a food safety commission to oversee the nation's entire food monitoring system.
The new commission is expected to focus on the nation’s macro food safety strategies and the division of responsibilities in times of emergency. It will not have any representatives from the food industry.
Technical support for the new organization is expected to come from three existing organizations: the State Food Safety Science and Technology Commission, the State Food Safety Risk Assessment Commission, and the State Food Safety Standard Commission.