Dear Editor-in-Chief As a global problem, food safety significantly affects the public health in both developed and developing countries, especially in countries with large populations, e. A survey reported that food safety was the most concerned issue in Chinese people, surpassing public security, traffic safety, medical safety, etc. Food can be contaminated by many harmful factors at any step in the process from farm to table.
Overview[ edit ] The growing unrest over food safety in China reached a climax in earlyshortly after circulation to the State Council of an Asian Development Bank policy note based on a technical assistance project in collaboration with the State Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.
The note and a subsequent report applauded increased efforts by the Chinese government but noted remaining gaps, calling in particular for urgent reforms to strengthen and streamline inter-agency coordination and enact an overarching "basic food law".
There are around ten national government departments that share the responsibility to ensure food safety. There are also numerous provincial and local agencies that monitor local food production and sales.
The food and drug laws themselves have been created "in an ad hoc way without the benefit of a basic food law," as Henk Bekedam of the World Health Organization told the Wall Street Journal 9 AprilB1.
Both the State Council and the departments under the State Council can issue regulations and directives concerning food. China's agricultural system is composed mostly of small land-holding farmers  and subsistence agriculture. China, however, has less arable land than other nations and farmers intensively use fertilizer and pesticides to maintain high food production.
However, local authorities largely control food regulation enforcement  unless the central government steps in. As urban consumers' incomes increase, the demand for quality food goods, safer production, and processed foods also increases, and urban residents and supermarkets attract more national and media attention to food problems.
No single agency is responsible for all food safety regulations and enforcement in China, and the departments' duties often overlap. In response to complexity of numerous agencies monitoring and regulating food safety, the National People's Congress established the State Food and Drug Administration in The State Food and Drug Administration was supposed to oversee the all aspects of food safety regulations and unify food safety controls.
However, the State Food and Drug Administration has not become the main governing department as the government had intended, and the other national agencies have continued to regulate and monitor food safety.
This unclear division of duties has created conflict and confusion when citizens have sought to complain or when a major crisis needed to be resolved.
It provides experts to investigate poisoning cases, enforces food safety and hygiene inspections, and can order local health departments to conduct investigations into food quality violations. The Ministry of Health also oversees the Institute of Food Safety Control and Inspectionan agency that has studied and identified unsafe foods and has helped local health authorities form policies and training programs to combat unsafe food production and handling practices.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has called the Ministry of Health "the most important governing body of food safety. To propose regional health programs, to conduct overall planning and to coordinate the nationwide allocation of health resources.
To formulate working programs and policies on rural health, as well as maternal and child health care; to guide the implementation of primary health programs and technical protocols on maternal and child health care.
To implement the policy of "Prevention First" and to conduct health education to the general public. To develop programs on the prevention and treatment of diseases that endanger the health of the population; to organize the comprehensive prevention and treatment of major diseases; to publicize the quarantine list of communicable diseases and the surveillance list of infectious diseases.
To guide the reform of medical institutions; to formulate criteria for medical practitioners, medical quality and service delivery, and to supervise their enforcement.
To regulate by law blood collection at blood or plasma centers and the quality of blood for clinical transfusion. To draft key national development programs on medical science, technology and education; to organize key national medical and health researches; to guide the dissemination and application of medical achievements.
To administer the affiliated institutions. To supervise communicable disease prevention and treatment, food health, occupational, environmental, radiological, and school health. To formulate food and cosmetics quality control protocols and be responsible for their accreditation.
To formulate national development programs on health professionals and professional ethics protocols for health personnel; to draft and implement staffing standards for health institutions and accreditation criteria for health personnel. To organize and guide multi-lateral and bilateral governmental and non-governmental health and medical cooperation and exchanges and medical aid to other countries, to participate in major health events initiated by international organizations.
To coordinate medical and health exchanges and collaborations between China and the World Health Organization and other international organizations. To implement the policy of developing both western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.
To coordinate and dispatch technical health capacity nationwide, to assist local governments and relevant agencies in emergency response to major epidemics and diseases and in epidemic and disease prevention and control.
To undertake other work as designated by the State Council. It is "directly under the State Council, which is in charge of comprehensive supervision on the safety management of foodhealth food and cosmetics and is the competent authority of drug regulation.
The general duties of the SFDA are: Ministry of Agriculture[ edit ] The Ministry of Agriculture handles farm-level food safety regulations and policies. Handle and administer the registration of all kinds of enterprises including foreign-invested enterprisesorganizations or individuals that are engaged in business activities as well as resident representative offices of foreign companies; examine and ratify the registration of business names; review, approve and issue business licenses and carry out regulation thereof.
Supervise market competition, investigate into illegal trade practices including monopoly, unfair competition, smuggling, selling of smuggled goods, pyramid selling and disguised pyramid selling and mete out corresponding penalties according to law.
Carry out standard supervision and administration in accordance with law to ensure healthy order of business operation in various markets. Regulate the operation of brokers and brokerage agencies. Regulate contract performance, auctions and registration of chattel mortgage; investigate and penalize illegal practices such as contract frauds.Sep 25, · News about food safety and food poisoning.
Commentary and archival information about Food Contamination and Poisoning from The New York Times. China’s Haidilao Plans a Global Push. May 26, · Considering the huge scale and complex situation of food industry in China, there are no shortcuts to resolving the country’s food safety issues.
Only through the joint efforts and collaboration of government, food industry and consumer, can China’s food . Why do you think China suffers from such spectacular food safety problems?
Food safety has always been an issue (in China), due to lack of knowledge about hygiene standards.
China food safety A crisis in confidence in China's food industry emerged after melamine was found in domestically produced baby formula in The scandal sickened , babies and resulted.
Jun 08, · Key factors that affect China’s food supply: land, water, soil, and diet. Environmental factors affecting agricultural productivity are in part summarised by the Chinese character for food ().The country’s food supply is a function of China’s large population, the quantity and quality of arable lands, climatic factors, water supply and scarcity, the abundance of micronutrients in soil.
Food safety incidents in China have received increased international media scrutiny following the reform and opening of the country, and its joining the World Trade Organization.
Urban areas have become more aware of food safety as their incomes rise.