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China to Tidy Up Catering Outlets Licensing

The State Council has recently issued a directive on integrating and adjusting the public place hygiene licences and food operation licences of catering outlets.

The directive seeks to rescind the hygiene licence issued by local health authorities to four types of public places namely, restaurants, cafes, bars and teahouses, but integrate it into the food operation licence subject to the approval and supervision of the food and drug administration department. The reform, involving 2.43 million catering enterprises and 14.45 million employees, helps alleviate the burden of enterprises, encourages entrepreneurship, increases employment and promotes economic growth.

The directive requires food and drug administration at all levels to strictly carry out supervision of the catering establishments, further standardise the procedures for approval of food operation licence, conduct ex ante review according to laws, regulations and standards, prepare service guide, formulate internal review rules, optimise the approval process and shorten the approval time, establish performance pledges in terms of processing time, and focus on improving the efficiency of licensing activities.

The directive emphasises that local food and drug administration departments are required to strengthen the on-going and ex post supervision of catering establishments, improve the regulatory approach, establish credit system as well as revamp the scientific sampling system, the retroactive liability regime, the blacklist system and the market exit mechanism to ensure food safety in catering establishments. The food and drug administration department is to report promptly to the health authorities after receiving reports on the epidemic situation of infectious diseases or early warning thereof. Health authorities are required to take the initiative to monitor, collect, analyse, investigate and verify related information about infectious diseases, adopting prevention and contingency measures based on laws and regulations such as the Law on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.

The directive requires joint efforts of Health and Family Planning Commission and China Food and Drug Administration to formulate specific measures, provide a clear time frame for completion of the integration and adjustments nationwide, make amendments to the relevant department rules. The State Council will organise timely inspection, supervising the implementation of reform within the time limit requirements.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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