BEIJING, June 30, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Zhang Dejiang (front), chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), presides over the 3rd plenary meeting of the 21st session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, June 30, 2016. Zhang delivered a report to lawmakers on the inspection of the implementation of the Food Safety Law. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The top legislature said Thursday that China's food safety situation remained "severe," and called for better supervision and food safety standards.
Dirty food processing environments, fraud and adulteration in food production, and irregularities in transportation had been uncovered, said Zhang Dejiang, chairman of National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, when delivering a report to lawmakers on the inspection of the implementation of the Food Safety Law.
The country has over 11.85 million licensed food businesses, according to Zhang.
The report follows an NPC Standing Committee nationwide inspection of the enforcement of the law in April and May.
Led by Zhang and four vice chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee, five inspection groups went to 10 provincial regions including Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Fujian, Hubei, Guangxi, and Chongqing. They visited breeding centers, markets for farm produce, food producers, catering businesses and other units.
Inspectors found that some food producers lacked a sense of responsibility. A few were driven purely by profits.
In the planting phase, pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not being used appropriately, said Zhang.
In addition, although almost 683 food safety standards and over 4,000 limits to pesticide levels have been issued, food safety standard supervision in some areas is weak, said Zhang.
However, the general situation of food safety in China has improved, as the food sampling qualification rate was 96.8 percent in 2015, up 2.1 percentage points from 2014.
An inter-departmental cooperation mechanism for food safety has been established, added Zhang, saying that severe punishment against offenses have had a deterrent effect.
In 2015, China Food and Drug Administration supervised the investigation of 364 major food safety cases, and food and drug administration authorities at all levels investigated over 240,000 cases, issuing fines worth 1.165 billion yuan (175.3 million U.S. dollars).
Since the revised Food Safety Law was enacted, the police uncovered 15,000 criminal cases involving food safety issues, with over 26,000 suspects questioned.
Zhang suggested that publicity of the food safety law should be further strengthened, and supervision over cultivation and planting be enhanced, and there should be a standards system consistent with international and Chinese conditions.
The NPC Standing Committee chairman also suggested that food test agencies be improved.
This week's NPC Standing Committee session runs until Saturday. Also on Thursday, top legislator Zhang presided over a meeting of the chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee, which heard reports ranging from the revisions of the laws concerning wild animals protection and energy saving to the qualification of some NPC members.