Infant food producers will be convicted guilty in China if the nutrient contents needed for infants’ growth in their products are seriously unmatched with food safety standards, according to the detailed judicial interpretation on handling the criminal cases concerning food safety released on May 3.
The interpretation was made public by China’s Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate at a press conference on May 3 afternoon in Beijing.
The judicial interpretation stipulates that such producers would receive a maximum punishment of life sentence.
According to the old provisions of China’s Criminal Law, producers and sellers of substandard milk powders will be convicted of life sentence, only if the milk powder they produce can result in serious food poisoning and food borne diseases.
This is seen as a major condition for charges against food safety related crimes in the past.
However, legal experts said that it is hard to identify whether food poisoning and food borne diseases is caused by the certain substance of the food.
“Food examination reports and the condition set by the Criminal Law can not be linked effectively, because food reports only show whether the food contains substandard substance, and the content of the substance, but it can not show if it is the substance that resulted in fatal injuries of people,” explained Wang Xiaoyan, director of coordination department of Food Safety Committee under the State Council.
According to authorities, food safety incidents involving milk and infant formula have been on a rise in recent years, including the shocked Sanlu milk scandal in 2008 when Sanlu Group, the biggest producer of milk powder in China, was found to produce infant formula that contained toxic chemical melamine.
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