On the morning of October 29, a press conference was held in Zhuhai to give an overview of food safety checks that were conducted in the canteens of 380,000 kindergartens and primary and secondary schools nationwide, as part of the campaign to follow up on the instructions emanating from the National Education Conference 2019 and celebrate the 70th anniversary of the PRC. According to Wang Dengfeng, Director-general of the Physical Education, Health and Art Department under the MOE, 84 per cent of the canteens met safety standards. As of October 14, a total of 631,000 food venders underwent sanitation and food safety inspections. 2,667 failing to meet prescribed standards were ordered to take remedial action, while 496 operating without a license were ordered to cease operation. 2,352 raw material suppliers and 536 canteen operators were replaced.
A month earlier, the MOE, in conjunction with the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR), Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, launched a special campaign to ensure food safety on campuses, holding kindergarten principals and school headmasters accountable for food safety violations.
At the press conference, Ma Rulin, Deputy Director-general of the SAMR Department of Food Operation Facility Safety Supervision, noted that market regulation authorities conducted sweeping inspections of school canteens and cafeterias, and food vendors in and around campuses in the joint food safety campaign. All canteens were required to install webcams in their kitchen, allowing parents, teachers, regulators and the general public to view how food is prepared in real time.
According to Wang Dengfeng, the four departments jointly implemented the campaign through school visits and inspections, as well as food safety guidance, instructions and advocacy. They would go on to conduct a comprehensive inspection of environmental sanitation within the schools, include canteens, classrooms, dorms, restrooms, playgrounds and peripheral areas, he said. The four departments would also continue to improve rules and regulations related to campus food safety, and provide food safety training for students, canteen operators, and campus food managers.
The press conference was moderated by MOE spokesperson Xu Mei. Zhu Chaohua, deputy director-general of the Department of Education of Guangdong Province, He Jianyang, inspector of the Department of Education of Jiangxi Province, and Yan Liguo, principal of Taoyuan No.1 Middle School also attended the conference and made presentations.