China: Funny face for excellent food safety in restaurants

Posted: September 21st, 2011 - 9:32pm by Doug Powell

 Not the 1957 Gershwin film starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, but more along the lines of what Denmark has been using as a form of restaurant inspection disclosure (left).

Xinhua News Agency reports China's food safety watchdog plans to use cartoon faces -- smiling or unhappy -- to grade restaurants and delis based on the evaluation of their food safety conditions.

According to a draft plan compiled by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), the "smiling face" will represent excellent, the "straight face" means good and the "unhappy face" indicates average, according the draft which is currently opening for public opinions.

The grading will be based on evaluations on food safety factors ranging from environment, facilities, food materials, processing, to food additive and tableware disinfection, according to the draft.

Catering businesses scoring 90 and above will be rated as excellent, and between 75 to 90 will be classified as good. Those with scores above 60 but under 75 will be regarded as average.

The food safety authorities will conduct both from-time-to-time checks and evaluations on yearly basis. The draft said catering businesses will be required to placed the cartoon faces on visible positions to inform diners.

The plan has met mixed reactions among the public, with many suspecting if the proposal could be implemented substantially.

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