About the food safety law recently enacted by China

Author/s Salvatore Altiero
Publishing Year 2010 Issue 2009/1,2
Language Italian Pages 45 P. 235-279 File size 753 KB
DOI 10.3280/AIM2009-001015
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Might the new Food Safety Law, enacted by China last June, be the solution for both domestic and foreign problems about food safety and free trade? In order to answer this question, the paper compares the aforesaid Chinese law with the regulation n. 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council and with the World Trade Organization’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. China’s new food safety law is the first real attempt in this country to tackle the food safety problem in an organic way whereas, before this law, there were not general rules on "food safety" but various laws concerning the safety of some kind of food products (for instance, the law "on agricultural product quality safety") without a comprehensive regulation and with no central control, no clear standards and no procedures. So, on the one hand, the China’s food safety law shows some similarities with the European and Wto’s approach to food safety subject because, for instance, it settles what food safety standards have to include and a general food safety regulation and bases the National food safety standard review committe in order to coordinate the control over the food production process. On the other hand, the Law leaves all of the details of this program to further regulation: there are no specific values for the standards, no time-line, no budget. Since the Law does not set out the structure or authority of the new Commission there is no reason to expect that this approach will improve central control of the food safety problem, unless it will be followed by a detailed regulation. Otherwise - and that’s not unusual in China - it will be only a law adopted on a controversial topic that leaves nearly all of the details to further regulations which will never appear, making the law essentially meaningless.Only if these difficult issues are solved, the law will be able to represent a step forward to the solution of the food safety problem in China and make the admittance of China food products on international market easier.

Keywords: Food safety, regulation 178/2002, Sps Agreement, food safety standards

Salvatore Altiero, Sulla recente normativa cinese in materia di sicurezza alimentare in "AGRICOLTURA ISTITUZIONI MERCATI " 1,2/2009, pp 235-279, DOI: 10.3280/AIM2009-001015