City market regulators send early warnings for food outlets to save trouble later

Hu Min
Market regulators in Xuhui District are applying a comprehensive supervision and management approach at stores, trying to strike a balance between vibrant business and food safety.
Hu Min
City market regulators send early warnings for food outlets to save trouble later
Hu Min / SHINE

Officials offer guidance at an outlet of Freshippo in the West Bund on Thursday.

Market regulators in Xuhui District are trying to strike a balance of vibrant business and food safety via telling vendors dos and don'ts in advance and nurturing self-correction ability, officials said on Thursday.

The district has registered 6,104 catering businesses so far, with 520 newly registered in the first half of this year, fully reflecting the district's strong yanhuoqi, or the phenomenon of vitality in people's daily lives with its literal meaning of the smoke and fire produced from cooking food.

Market officials in the district have extended its pre-service mode to consumption venues and food chain businesses to boost consumer confidence.

Under the mechanism, a raft of measures and services which help food businesses spot problems and conduct rectifications at an early stage are being made, according to officials of the Xuhui District Administration for Market Regulation.

City market regulators send early warnings for food outlets to save trouble later
Hu Min / SHINE

An official offers advice at a store in advance of its opening.

For enterprises, spotting risks and potential hazards before opening through self-inspection and self-correction enables them to fix irregularities in time. If problems occur after opening, it can disrupt normal operations and, in serious cases, they may face administrative penalties that damage their reputation, officials said.

A Freshippo outlet is due to open in the West Bund area next week. Its staff received a self-inspection report on Thursday, which reminded them of issues such as the lack of special counters for frozen and refrigerated perishable food and the failure to post special equipment use registration certificates.

These were all spotted via the "self-inspection and self-correction" approach launched by the administration.

"We were a little bit nervous with the opening date due for fear of problems we were not aware of," said Hou Lijuan, the store manager. "Following the standardized self-inspection form, we can easily carry out self-inspection and self-correction, discover and rectify problems in advance, thus avoid violations and administrative penalty after formal operations."

City market regulators send early warnings for food outlets to save trouble later
Ti Gong

A member of a store's staff shows a report on her phone.

Businesses will be able to spot problems by following a module that involves food, special equipment, advertisements and pricing. In terms of food safety management, it covers self-checks of eight high-risk and 16 medium-risk items, ranging from management of food ingredients to food processing and dish washing.

"The new practice aims to make enterprises fully aware of regulations and lower the incidence of irregularities, thus reducing the interference on the normal operation of enterprises," said Zhou Jie, director of the bureau's food supervision and management department.

Since the beginning of the year, incidents such as the use of expired raw materials, messy environments, and non-standard operations have been continuously exposed, triggering widespread attention. After a problem occurs in a store, regulatory authorities will immediately carry out a full coverage inspection of all stores in the chain, leading to high administrative costs, and the headquarters of the enterprise may also face the trouble of synchronized penalty for multiple stores, officials said.

As a solution, the bureau is implementing a "health check report" mechanism which highlights early intervention before minor irregularities worsen and communication and guidance has been beefed up to safeguard the development environment of enterprises.

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