Tough penalties urged under new food safety law

Updated: 2015-08-05 20:40


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BEIJING - China's top court has demanded heavy penalties for people breaking food safety laws that enter effect on Oct 1.

The Supreme People's Court (SPC) released a circular on Wednesday stressing that those selling food online via their own websites should be considered wholly liable, while those who run markets, rented out counters and organized trade fairs but failed in legal duties should be held jointly liable if consumers' rights and interests are infringed.

The circular also called for timely compensation for consumers.

The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, adopted an amendment to the 2009 Food Safety Law in April.

The revised law brings harsher civil, administrative and criminal penalties for offenders and their supervisors. Offenders may face fines of up to 30 times the value of their products, up from 10 times.

The amendment provides punishment for landlords of production sites who turn a blind eye to illegal activities on the premises, and suppliers who sell unlawful substances to producers, knowing that they will be added to foods. Their revenue can be seized and they can be fined.

Chinese people have been shocked by many food safety scandals in recent years, including injecting clenbuterol into pork, recycled cooking oil, selling pork from sick pigs, medicines made with toxic gelatin and passing off rat and fox meat as fit for human consumption.