Chinese lawmakers Thursday hailed harsher punishment for offenders in the Food Safety Law's latest draft revision but the provisions to be more meticulous.
At a panel discussion on the bill, most members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) agreed that the draft amendment has targeted the biggest safety loopholes and harsher penalties are necessary to deter offenders.
"The bill has a well-established framework and adopts correct principles. It responds to the general public's expectation to get tough on food safety crimes," said Cai Fang, member of the NPC Standing Committee and research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The bill was tabled for its first reading on Monday at the top legislature's ongoing bi-monthly session. It pledges to impose harsher civil, administrative and criminal penalties on offenders and tough punishment for supervisors who neglect their duties.
With a diary firm and frozen food plant in central China's Henan province, NPC deputy Zhang Haiqing supported the bill.
"By punishing the bad guys, the well behaved ones will no doubt benefit as the reputation of the industry and public confidence will improve," said Zhang, who was invited to observe the session, but he was not content with how the bill defines offenses of different severity.
"The current bill does not have very clear regulations on what kind of offenses should be considered breaking the criminal law. This will leave room for some offenders to talk their way out," he said.
The punishments in the Food Safety Law are administrative, such as fining and revoking certificates. Other lawmakers agreed with Zhang that more detailed regulations are needed to refer serious offenders to the criminal justice system.