China’s food-safety draft has death penalty for violators
Companies that make and sell unsafe food or additives face fines of 10 to 20 times the profits made in non-criminal cases.
Violators may also face life in prison or the death penalty, based on China's criminal code, the rules said.
"There will be more penalties for violations,'' said Ron Cai a partner and Shanghai representative for Seattle-based law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. "And this will be a national law, so enforcement agencies will have to refer to the specific law instead of having discretion to do what they want.'' Food-safety problems sparked a drop in exports to Japan this year, China's third-biggest overseas market for food products. Contaminated consumer exports, including pesticide-laced frozen dumplings in Japan and tainted Heparin blood thinner in the US this year, have sparked international furor over the safety of Chinese-made products.
The law aims to prevent and eliminate contaminated food and dangerous additives, and reduce food-borne illness, according to a statement on the website of China's legislature. The National People's Congress posted the draft on its Web site late yesterday and the government is seeking comments on the rules until May 20.
Food shipments to Japan declined 17% by volume to 471,000 tons in January and February, with a 30 % drop in February, according to China's General Administration of Customs. Pesticide-laced
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