China needs an organic food law to protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers and producers, and ensure healthy development of organic farming in the country, according to one senior Chinese official.
Yang Shaoming, a deputy to the legislative National People's Congress (NPC) and secretary of the Communist Party of China Songyuan City Committee in northeast China's Jilin Province, said he will raise the issue at the Fifth Session of the Ninth NPC, scheduled to open on 5 March.
The organic food industry has developed rapidly in China since the 1990s, Yang said, but lax management of the market has led to some fake and shoddy organic foods being sold to consumers.
He said that organic farming upgrades the quality of farm produce, increases the competitiveness of China's agricultural products on the international market and helps China's farm produce to overcome the "green" barriers in other countries following China's accession to the World Trade Organisation.
But inadequate regulation and lack of unified standards are affecting the growth of the organic food industry, Yang noted, adding the state has to expand investment in the production of raw materials for organic foods, processing base and construction of relevant facilities.
An organic food law would protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers and producers, and ensure the healthy development of organic farming and the organic food industry in the country, Yang said.
Statistics show that by the end of 2001, a total of 2,047 products from over 1,000 Chinese enterprises carried the "green" or organic labelling, covering grain, edible oil, fruits, vegetables, drinks and ingredients for organic foods.
China's exports of organic foods exceeded US$200 million (€231m) last year.