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Licensing to ensure dairy standards

[ 2011-03-30 13:35]     字号 [] [] []  
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To legally sell dairy products, retailers in China must apply for new operating licenses or renew their old ones by the end of July or face punishment, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce has announced.

Starting in April, dairy retailers will be required to apply for one of two types of licenses. One will allow them to sell dairy products that contain baby formula and the other will allow them to sell formula-free dairy products, the administration said on its website on Monday.

Retailers that sell infant formula without approval will be punished, according to the regulations.

The central government has tightened its supervision of food products in response to public concerns over food safety, which have grown more intense following discoveries of the toxic substance melamine in baby formula in 2008 and, more recently, of illegal additives in pork.

Among the foods of most concern to safety inspectors are dairy products, edible oils, meats, health foods, food additives and liquors, according to a statement released this month by the Office of the Food Safety Commission under the State Council.

The licensing requirement for dairy retailers is the latest step in China's campaign to ensure the safety of its food supply.

"I hope the licensing will act as the last line of defense against toxic milk products," said Dong Jinshi, executive vice-president of the International Food Packaging Association, a Hong Kong-based non-government organization.

A shopkeeper interviewed on Tuesday applauded the new policy.

"Strict supervision will be good for consumers, including myself," said Zhang Mingshen, owner of a grocery in Beijing's Chaoyang district.

"I'll apply for the license as soon as I receive notice from the local industrial and commercial department."

Even so, opponents argue that adopting a licensing requirement for a few products will not be enough to ensure the safety of China's food supply.

"It's more important to find and fix the flaws in the administration sector, which allow unscrupulous producers to bring unsafe food to market."

A dairy-industry expert also said the regulations will "have few effects" if they do not apply to online sellers of dairy products.

Wang Dingmian, former chairman of the Guangdong Provincial Dairy Association, said online retailers of dairy products and those selling the products in stores should be made subject to the same supervision.


1. Who is now required to get a license?

2. When will the new rule take effect?

3. What is the deadline?


1. Dairy sellers.

2. In April.

3. Retailers must get their operating license by July or face punishment.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Licensing to ensure dairy standards

About the broadcaster:

Licensing to ensure dairy standards

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.