The Ministry of Public Security says that last year it cracked down on 12,000 food-related crimes and 8,500 crimes related to pharmaceutical drugs and smashed a number of unlicensed workshops and sales networks.
The ministry said it will further intensify its crackdown and work with relevant departments to hold legally accountable those responsible for crimes related to food and pharmaceutical drugs, and it will push for the improvement of judicial interpretations so that the law can better play its role as a deterrent.
The safety of food and pharmaceutical drugs has long been a concern because of the number of exposes of unsafe or counterfeit food and medicines in recent years. These have sparked ever-growing calls for the authorities to deal a sterner blow to such activities.
The ministry’s push to make the production of fake food and medicines a crime covered by the Criminal Law undoubtedly conforms to public expectations for those responsible for putting their health at risk to receive harsher penalties.
China has put in place a relatively developed legal system to combat food and drugs counterfeiting, but both the amendment to Criminal Law and the new Food Safety Law fail to stipulate specific penalties for those producing adulterated and counterfeit products. Such a legal vacuum has left space for producers of counterfeit food and pharmaceuticals to dodge their deserved criminal responsibilities. Thus, it is necessary for the authorities to add targeted clauses to the country’s laws.
Stricter laws and penalties are not the only recipe for eradicating fake foods and pharmaceutical drugs, but they will deter some from getting involved. Given that the manufacturing of fake and shoddy foods and pharmaceutical drugs has escalated to be a major threat to public health, lowering the threshold for their definition as a crime is thus of practical significance.
The latest move by the Ministry of Public Security not only goes some way to meeting public expectations but also manifests the government’s firmer determination to protect people from harmful food and pharmaceutical products.