Schools advised to run self-canteens for food safety

Primary and middle schools, as well as kindergartens, have been advised to run canteens themselves rather than contracting with other private companies or food suppliers, according to a guideline released on Monday.

The guideline issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation, the Ministry of Education, the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Public Security, targets food safety in schools.

Schools having conditions should provide meals to students themselves, since some contractors might ignore food safety in pursuit of economic interests, the guideline said.

In practice, problems existed, such as the lack of accountability and the neglect of food safety management, and that caused students to fall sick because of unsafe food, the guideline pointed out.

Grocery stores and supermarkets should be banned in non-boarding schools to help children and teenagers adopt a healthy diet and stop relying on snacks. Those stores that already exist should be withdrawn.

Boarding schools that need to set up grocery stores or supermarkets should obtain permission from authority according to the law. In principle, only water, milk, and food such as prepackaged bread should be sold in these shops.

Schools are regulated not to rent their own properties near the school to non-licensed businesses focusing on food production. In addition, enhanced efforts will be carried out against food-related crimes.

With regard to the current regulation which requires school principals across China to dine with their students at school canteens, the guideline said they should evaluate the meals objectively and take notes of the hygiene in the dining areas and the work of staff, to discover existing issues and potential risks concerning food security and rectify them as soon as possible.

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