China Releases Punishment Standards for Food-Related Crimes

By Dezan Shira & Associates

Posted: 7th June 2013 08:35

China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly released the “Interpretation on Certain Issues Concerning the Application of Law in Food-Related Criminal Cases (fashi [2013] No.12, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Interpretation’)” on May 2, which came into effect on May 4, 2013. The Interpretation has clarified several issues regarding food-related crimes and puts forward punishment standards for such crimes.
China’s Criminal Law, which forbids the production or sales of unsafe and poisonous food, has set up two basic charges undermining food safety, namely:
 
1.    The production and sales of food that is below safety standards; and
2.    The production and sales of poisonous and harmful food.
 
For bringing up the first charge, an important condition of “enough to cause serious food poisoning and other food-borne diseases” shall be satisfied. However, this standard is not practicable as there is no clarification as to what kind of substandard food is “enough to cause serious food poisoning and other food-borne diseases.”
 
The production and sales of food that is below safety standards
In response, the Interpretation stipulates that the production and sale of food not in compliance with food safety standards shall be deemed as “enough to cause serious food poisoning and other food-borne diseases” if the following apply:
 
 
Producing or selling the above-mentioned food may result in a fixed-term imprisonment of not less than seven years or life imprisonment, along with a fine or confiscation of property.
 
The production and sales of poisonous and harmful food
The Interpretation for the first time stipulates that the following acts shall be punished in accordance with the crime for production and sale of poisonous or harmful food.
 
 
According to China’s Criminal Law, individuals who commit the above-mentioned acts may be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years and be imposed a fine concurrently.
 
Where serious harm to human health has been caused or where other grave circumstances occur, the individual may be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years, but not more than ten years, and be imposed a fine concurrently.
 
Where death has been caused or where there are other especially serious circumstances, the individual may be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years, and could face life imprisonment or the death penalty. The individual will also be concurrently subject to a fine or confiscation of property.
 
This article was first published on China Briefing.
 
Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.
 
For further details or to contact the firm, please email info@dezshira.com or visit www.dezshira.com.

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