Consumers check out vegetables at a supermarket in Handan, Hebei province, on Aug 10, 2022. [HAO QUNYING/FOR CHINA DAILY]
Enterprises and cooperatives should be responsible for agricultural products
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, passed the newly revised Law on Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products on Friday.
The revised law strengthens the responsibilities of local authorities and business operators in ensuring the quality and safety of agricultural products during the entire process from production to consumption.
Yue Zhongming, an official with the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission, said the revised law included farmers into the scope of supervision, stipulating that enterprises and cooperatives of agricultural production should be responsible for the quality and safety of agricultural products.
Food producers should check certifications and qualifications according to the Food Safety Law when they purchase agricultural products as food materials, the law said.
Given the emerging new forms of agricultural product sales, the law also stipulated the responsibilities of online platform operators selling the products, and of people involved in the cold chain logistics of the products, Yue said.
In the definition of the safety and quality of agricultural products, the law added that the agricultural products in the market should meet the quality and safety standards, which should be strictly implemented.
The law also stipulated the scientific use of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, and the control of the quality and safety from the production base.
It added safety requirements for the storage and transportation of the agricultural products, preventing secondary pollution of the products, Yue said.
The risk evaluation results of agricultural products' quality and safety should be reported not only to market supervision and health departments, but also local bureaus of agriculture and rural affairs, according to the law.
County-level authorities of agriculture and rural affairs should improve the supervision and management of agricultural products' quality and safety during the entire process.
The random inspection of the quality and safety of agricultural products should be improved, while samples collected should be paid for at market price, Yue said.
Wang Tiehan, chief inspector of food safety at the State Administration for Market Regulation, said that random inspections in the first half of this year showed 2.51 percent of the 2.37 million batches of food products contained substandard samples, a year-on-year increase of 0.17 percent.
"The unqualified rates in six categories including agricultural products and catering food increased year-on-year," he said at an event on Monday to kick off China Food Safety Publicity Week.
The excessive pesticide and veterinary medicine residues on vegetables, fruits and aquatic products are among major problems found during the inspection, he added.
The revised law strengthened the punishment of illegal actions. Considering the real condition of farmers, the relatively light punishment on farmers will both deter them from wrongdoing and guide them to regulate their activities, Yue said.
Enacted in 2006, the Law on Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products has played an important role in ensuring the food safety and boosting the rural economy.
The revised law will take effect on Jan 1.