BEIJING – Law enforcement officials will witness the destruction of food that fails to meet safety standards or is past its sell-by date, under a plan intended to keep potentially harmful products off the market.
The proposal put forward by a top supervisory agency follows complaints by experts that some companies have repackaged unsafe food and put it back on the shelf.
At least two officials with district-level industrial and commercial bureaus will be on hand to supervise and record the destruction of these foods by incineration, burial as landfill or blending into organic fertilizer. The draft, posted online by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on Aug 12, is open for public comments until Aug 29.
Industry experts welcomed the proposal, saying that mandatory destruction under government oversight would keep bad food off the market.
“Enterprises have a recall system, and they are not supposed to resell faulty products, but the crux is oversight of these products,” said Dong Jinshi, a food safety expert and executive vice-president of the International Food Packaging Association.
Both Dong and Wang Dingmian, chairman of the Guangzhou Dairy Association, said customers can be reassured if faulty food products are destroyed under the eyes of law enforcement officials.
Several managers of supermarkets told China Daily on Sunday that they usually return food that is getting close to its expiry date to distributors and get new items in return.”But we have no idea how the companies deal with the ‘dying’ products,” said Zhang Yanfang, store manager of a Shouhang Supermarket chain store in the Huixinli community of Chaoyang district.
But experts said some businesses put faulty food on the shelf again after public attention fades, or find other ways to deal with it, such as changing packages, selling it cheaply to other businesses or diluting liquid products in cases where some standard concentration has been exceeded.