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Fast-food chains must disclose suppliers


Shanghai says restaurants must post information on source of menu items

Shanghai's food and drug administration is requiring five restaurant chains to release information on their suppliers on their websites, according to a city government circular released on Saturday.

The five enterprises - Yum! Brands, McDonald's, Dicos, Burger King and Carl's Jr. - were all involved in a food scandal that exposed Shanghai Husi Food Co for using expired meat and forging production dates. The city government circular did not specifically mention that the information disclosure requirement is related to the Husi case.

Since the scandal, the five enterprises have suspended using Shanghai Husi as a source.

The circular said the requirement aims to strengthen supervision over food suppliers based on China's food safety laws. All five enterprises began publicizing supplier information on their websites on Sunday.

The city government's circular said the city's food and drug administration requires food chains in the city to strengthen examinations over food provided by suppliers. It also requires enterprises to destroy expired and unsafe food.

"Food safety must be a priority when choosing a supplier," the circular said.

Experts said the requirements might help build a system to trace sources of raw food materials and strengthen supervision of food enterprises.

The Shanghai Municipal People's Congress recently said a hearing to draft a provision on tracking food safety information will be held on Aug 12. The provision will cover information on grains, meat, poultry, vegetables, dairy products, cooking oil, seafood, wine and liquor, and other food categories that have been approved for sale in the city.

Gu Zhenhua, a food safety expert and vice-president of the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration, said chain restaurants are obliged to disclose information on their suppliers because consumers are entitled to know where their food comes from.

"Consumers are paying based on their trust in the brands. And brands need to make their foods traceable," said Gu.

Consumers said they expect the requirement to expand to all catering services in the city.

"The Husi scandal impacted consumers' confidence in some food chains, and the measure of disclosing supplier information may help to restore that confidence," said Bai Lingyun, a 34-year-old Shanghai resident.

China DailyWeb Editor: Wang Fan

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