Editorial Notes

Law against food wastage gets a direction: China Daily

The paper says food producers and businesses need to improve their storage, transportation and processing mechanisms top reduce food waste.

Farmers eat home cooked food in their kitchen in the village of Yangchao in Liping County, China, on June 11, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A recent notice, jointly introduced by the State Council's Food Safety Office, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Commerce and two other departments, requires canteens, food testing agencies and other entities to take more actions to curb food wastage.

The notice will help better implement the Law against Wasting Food. The law that came into effect in April requires all related departments and law enforcers to help curb food wastage, but it does not say which departments are responsible for implementing it, what administrative procedures they should follow, which departments should monitor the work, and how the responsible departments should work with each other.

The notice, however, answers all these questions, while also specifying how to implement the law.

Many people think food wastage happens only on the dining table. However food wastage can happen anywhere from the agricultural field to the dining table. There might be crop losses during harvesting and purchase, in the canteen when food remains unsold, at the supermarket, and when vegetables or packaged food perish before they are sold.

The notice is significant as it requires food producers and businesses to improve their storage, transportation and processing mechanisms.

The notice will also help regulate the fast food delivery sector. Many fast food delivery platforms often dangle offers to encourage consumers to order in bulk so as to expand their trade volume.

However, the customers may not be able to eat all the food they order, which leads to wastage. The notice sets guidelines asking fast food delivery platforms to remind consumers to be judicious when ordering food.

The notice also encourages school canteens to upload videos of their kitchen daily, to bring in transparency about food safety and quantity.

Of course, the notice is only a first step toward implementing the Law against Wasting Food and its effect is yet to be seen. Let's hope more detailed regulations are issued so that the law can be more efficiently implemented.

  • China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media titles.

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