Providing growing bodies with healthy products is a ‘top priority’
Prosecutors nationwide will strengthen efforts to crack down on food safety crimes affecting young people and children, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on Monday.
“Minors are in a critical period of growth and development, and food safety should be guaranteed and placed as a top priority,” Shi Weizhong, director at the SPP’s No 9 prosecutorial department said during a news briefing.
Data provided by the SPP show that since last year, prosecutors have charged 64 suspects with allegedly manufacturing and selling substandard food to children.
In April, a student in Zhongning county in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region was diagnosed with food poisoning after eating snacks bought at a shop near his school.
After launching an investigation, local prosecutors discovered many shops located near kindergartens and primary schools were selling harmful food that was substandard and past its use-by date. Some of the sellers did not have licenses to sell food, the investigation found.
The prosecutors immediately issued suggestions to the market supervision administration to correct the situation, with offending shops told to make amends, the SPP said.
The administration ordered 16 shops to suspend their business operations and seized 1,325 bags of food.
According to Xiao Wei, spokeswoman of the SPP, a mechanism will be established to prevent and discover food-safety abuses that affect the legal rights of young people.
Shi said prosecutors have paid attention to handling public interest lawsuits about food safety involving minors since early 2018 and have issued 188 procuratorial suggestions to relevant administrations.
Apart from food safety, prosecuting departments have taken effective measures and seriously punished offenders to protect other legitimate rights of juveniles, according to the SPP.
Figures provided by the SPP show that since last year 67,600 suspects have been prosecuted for allegedly harming minors’ rights. The offenses include abducting, trafficking, intentional injuring, abusing and abandoning them. One high profile case involved child abuse at a kindergarten owned by Shanghai-based Ctrip in November 2017.
Xiao said prosecuting departments will also enhance cooperation with educational, civil and sports departments nationwide to establish a database of people who have sexually abused minors. Its aim will be to prevent prospective abusers from taking jobs where they can come into close contact with children, such as at kindergartens, training centers and libraries.
Moreover, they will monitor relevant administrations to strengthen management in industries and fields where such crimes easily occur, like internet cafes, entertainment venues and hotels, to reduce such crimes happening at the root level, she said.