CHINA: Food safety official says penalties too weak
Posted: June 13th, 2012 - 2:49pm
Source: Shanghai Daily
Penalties for perpetrators of food safety scandals are not harsh enough to prevent cases occurring repeatedly in the city, a senior food safety watchdog official said yesterday.
"I am not satisfied with the current administrative punishments for violators because they are not enough to scare off violators," said Gu Zhenhua, vice director of the Shanghai Food Safety Office.
According to China's food safety laws, violators face fines of, at most, 10 times the value of the products they sell or a maximum of 100,000 yuan (US$16,129) if the value of products can't be determined.
Only in the most serious of cases will violators be ordered to suspend operations, have their business certificates revoked or face criminal punishment.
Gu said the 10-times figure was not a big deal for violators, but based on the current law, there was no way to impose a tougher penalty.
Since January last year, the authorities have imposed fines in about 5,000 food scandal cases in the city, but only 121 cases were ruled as food-related crimes, meaning cases where the violators could face jail.
Based on figures for this year, a fine imposed for a food safety violation was just 6,015 yuan on average.