March 29, 2021


US$400 million World Bank loan to help China improve food safety


China has secured a US$400 million loan from the World Bank to improve the country's food safety management and reduce food safety risks.


The cost of foodborne diseases in terms of human capital productivity loss in China is estimated at more than US$30 billion per year, almost 50% of the total economic burden of foodborne infections in Asia, according to the World Bank.


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food safety challenges in processing, packaging and transporting agricultural products. Improvements in food safety standards are important for China's trading partners and agricultural export competitiveness.


The China Food Safety Improvement Project will strengthen regulations, enforcement and compliance along value chains (including seafood, pork, fruit and vegetables) to be consistent with global practices. The total cost of this effort is US$735 million.


Additionally, the project will support the promotion of scientific and evidence-based enforcement of food safety regulations at the provincial and municipal levels using risk-based approaches.


It will be implemented by China's State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Areas (MARA) at the national and provincial levels. Food safety enforcement and supervision will be supported in Guangdong and Shandong provinces.


Work will assist farms and businesses to improve compliance with food safety regulations, achieve certification standards and access finance for food safety technologies.


"By taking an integrated and risk-based approach, consistent with global good practices, this project can help China mitigate the public health risks and reduce the economic and environmental costs associated with unsafe food production, processing and trading practices," said Martin Raiser, World Bank country director for China. "Because China is a major food exporter and a hotspot for the emergence of foodborne diseases, the project carries important global benefits."


Risk communication campaigns will be organised to promote food safety and healthier lifestyles, complementing regulatory improvements and strengthened enforcement with measures to support the demand for healthy food and encourage better compliance.


About 7,500 family farms, cooperatives, small and medium-sized enterprises and large enterprises in the agriculture and food sector will be aided to better manage food safety risks.


- Food Safety News

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