First national standard on food defence approved

The national standard Food Defence Plan and its Application Guidelines - Food Processing Establishments, drawn up by the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA), was reviewed and approved on 9 December 2009. The reviewing committee said that the standard, taking into account the situation of the food producers at home and drawing on the industrial experience abroad, was an integral supplement to China’s current food safety management standards system, and could be applied to assure food safety. It is the first national standard on food defence and will probably be published officially as a recommended national standard in 2010.

In order to deal with non-conventional food safety problems brought about by illegitimate food producers trying to gain illegal profits by deliberately contaminating food of their competitors, CNCA began to help food producers implement and improve a food defence plan in 2007. The National Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Seminar included a session to discuss the relevant theories and application to food defence. CNCA also urged the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureaus directly under the AQSIQ to help the food exporters raise food defence awareness and implement food defence plan. The bureaus also compiled food defence training materials and provided training courses in various forms. In 2008, 1200 inspection and quarantine personnel and 9300 quality management personnel from businesses attended the training. Up to October 2009, over 6000 food exporters had implemented the food defence plan.

CNCA organized experts to formulate the standard in April 2008, holding a number of seminars and recruiting businesses in Shandong, Hebei, Beijing and Shanghai as pilot enterprises. CNCA also solicited public comments and suggestions on modification of the standard, and requested comments from large-scaled food producing businesses including the Coca Cola Company, Nestle, Kraft Foods, Husi Food and Huiyuan Juice Group. In October 2009, the formulation was completed.

The standard aims to give food producers guidelines on how to prevent food products and the processing links from being sabotaged intentionally and contaminated deliberately. It also gives adequate guidance on how to enhance measures and procedures to find and report employees with emotional instability, and give them psychological counselling in time, and to attach importance to employees who have been punished, demoted or dismissed. It stresses the importance of establishing a sound mechanism for internal and external communication and fostering a harmonious business culture, and urges businesses to be people-oriented, so as to thoroughly eliminate all factors that lead to intentional sabotage. The standard provides businesses guidance on how to identify deliberate contamination, and establish assessment mechanism on qualified suppliers to lower the risk of getting raw materials contaminated deliberately. It also requires that businesses should take measures to prevent intentional contamination during food processing, and report to the competent government departments if they find the contamination is an industrial behaviour. (Source:AQSIQ)