FDA focuses on workplace canteens

To prevent such food safety issues, the Shanghai FDA teams up with local workers' trade unions and education authorities to introduce new standards.

Students are waiting for their meal in the cateen. 

Many of Shanghai’s mass food poisoning incidents occur in company and school cafeterias. To prevent such food safety issues, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration teams up with local workers’ trade unions and education authorities to introduce a series of new standards to regulate staff service in canteens and protect public health. 

The updated standard monitors food quality from the ingredients to the dinner table. The FDA vows to station a supervisor in each kitchen to keep track of the food ingredients and oversee the cooking. The eating utensils will be disinfected according to strict procedures, and the general environment in cafeterias will be kept clean. Also, cafeterias are to be equipped with glass windows and surveillance cameras so that everyone can become a part of the supervision. The entire society should be able to build, maintain, and enjoy food safety, local FDA officials said.

In addition to constant supervision, the FDA conducts intermittent inspections. Company cafeterias failing regular examinations will be punished and recorded in a “food safety credit record.” The cafeterias will then be closed immediately. 

Many district governments have campaigned to improve food safety in cafeterias of schools and enterprises. Putuo District established new cafeteria standards in its schools by setting up regulations and inviting teachers and students’ parents as inspectors. Enterprises are required to make rules to perfect staff performances and prevent food poisoning at each step from the raw materials to the dishes.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration also collaborated with the Shanghai Education Commission to start an Excellent School Cafeteria program and planned to have half of local school cafeterias achieve excellence this year. Similar policies are planned for restaurant chains and kitchens for the elderly.

The government will continue to foster a sense of responsibility among food providers and help the trade unions to supervise themselves. 

The authorities will also seek technological help from third parties and improve their methods of supervision and regulation. The Internet, for example, can play a powerful role in the fight against food poisoning.

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