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State Council Food Safety Commission Office et al Notification on Strengthening Prevention, Control, and Management Work on Food Safety Rumors.

Title: State Council Food Safety Commission Office et al Notification on Strengthening Prevention, Control, and Management Work on Food Safety Rumors.
Promulgating Entities: Food Safety Commission Office of the State Council, Central Publicity Department, Ministry of industry and information technology, et al.
Reference number: Food Safety Office〔2017〕No. 23
Promulgation Date: 2017-7-14
Expiration date: 
Source of text:

At present, the overall situation of food safety in China is steadily improving and the atmosphere of social governance is becoming increasingly strong. But due to the sensitivity of food safety, the diversity of the broadcast media, and the complexity of the public opinion environment, all kinds of rumors focusing on food safety have occaisionally occurred, causing public concern and panic, and impacting the healthy development of the industry and public safety. In order to persist in the correct orientation for public opinion guidance, to purify cyberspace and create an scientific and healthy consumer environment, the following notice on the strengthening of efforts to prevent, control, and handle food safety rumors is hereby released:

I. Pro-active disclosure of government information

All levels of food safety regulatory department (referring to departments such as for agriculture, health and family planning, quality inspection, and FDAs) shall strictly implement the requirements of 'disclosure as the norm, non-disclosure as the exception", employing various methods to promptly disclose correct and complete food safety supervision information, and reducing the space for transmission of rumors. News media and websites should promptly, correctly, and objectively complete news reporting and public opinion guidance on food safety, on the basis of authoritative food safety supervision information. Scientific knowledge on food safety should be vigorously popularized, strengthening the publicity on food safety laws and regulations, increasing the professional level of persons in the industry and the capacity for managing quality and safety.

II. Strengthening Dynamic Monitoring

All food safety information that has no factual basis or lacks scientific basis can be considered food safety rumors. All levels of food safety regulatory department should promptly identify, grab, and clean up this type of information, taking methods such as printouts, screenshots, storing video and link addresses to save evidence and track the source of the information, organizing investigation and handling of the creators of the rumors in accordance with law.

III. Promptly Organizing Refutation of Rumors

The enterprises parties involved in rumors have the primary responsibility for refuting the rumor. Where the rumors clearly refer to a specific enterprise, the food safety regulatory departments should instruct the relevant enterprises to make a clarifying declaration; where they refer to several enterprises or have no specific referent, the food safety regulatory administrations should organize research and take methods to stop the transmission of the rumors and take appropriate means clear up the truth. Analysis of the patterns and characteristics of food safety rumors should be strengthened and a database of rumor cases should be established, increasing the efficacy of efforts to identify and designate similar rumors, and seasonal rumors.

IV. Put in Place Enterprise Responsibility for Media Resisting Rumors

News media, websites, and personal media such as micro-blogs and WeChat should fully perform their entity responsibility to strengthen the content and guiding management of food safety news, and actively create a public opinion environment of resisting food rumors. Websites should increase the force of self-inspections and corrections, and carry out comprehensive process controls so that necessary measures such as deletion, blocking, or de-linking are immediately taken against any food safety rumors as identified by authoritative departments. Personal media such as micro-blogs and WeChat should promptly check accounts on the platform that publish food safety rumors and not approve any content and opinions that violate the rules, strictly investigating and handling accounts with serious violations.

V. Actively and Steadily Carry out Supervision of Public Opinion

While strengthening positive publicity on food safety, news media and websites should at the same time carry out scientific and constructive public opinion supervision on illegal enterprises, helpful to promoting resolution of issues existing in food safety. The carrying out of public opinion supervision should pay attention to understanding balance, and should verify news information, preventing biased and false reports; and should strictly pursue liability for the creation of false reports that cause social panic.

VI. Strengthen the Release and Management of Food Safety Information

Information on the nation's overall food safety situation or food safety risk alerts must not be published by any unauthorized organization or individual, and food safety testing reports issued by testing establishments that lack legally-prescribed credentials, and any information such as assessments and evaluations based upon them, must not be published or reprinted. All levels of food safety regulatory departments discovering publication of food safety information in violation of laws or regulations should strictly investigate and address it together with the relevant departments, and announce it to the public.

VII. Strictly Punish the Creators of Rumors

Competent departments for Internet information and communications should urge network businesses to strengthen management of user publications of information, strictly enforcing the Cyber-security Law and Provisions on the Management of Online News Information Services, to promptly employ methods such as warnings, stopping transmission, and closing accounts, to strictly punish those spreading food safety rumors. Public security organs in all areas receiving reports of food safety rumors shall follow laws and regulations such as the Criminal Law, the Law on Public Security Administration Punishments, and the Food Safety Law to strictly punish the creators and transmitters of rumors. Where a crime is suspected, lawfully open a case and investigate; where it constitutes conduct in violation of public security administration, give a public security administration punishment in accordance with law. All levels of food safety regulatory department should cooperate with public security organs to complete technical assessments, experimental evaluations, and other work related to rumors. Food production businesses suffering infringement from rumors should be guided to collect and store evidence of the infringement, and seek the administrative, civil, and criminal liability of the infringing party.

VIII. Establish Mechanisms for Coordinating between Departments.

All relevant departments should clearly the body taking the lead in that department's efforts to handle food safety rumors, designate a contact person, and report to the the people's government food safety office for that level. All levels of food safety office should establish consultative mechanisms on addressing rumors, promptly consulting and coordinating on handling rumors.

State Council Food Safety Commission Office, Central Publicity Department

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security

Ministry of Agriculture , National Health and Family Planning Commission

State Quality Inspection Administration, State Administration of Press, Radio, Television, and Film

The Food and Drug Administration, State Internet Information Office


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