The Ministry of Health (MOH) will oversee food and drug safety by taking over the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), a government institutional restructuring draft bill presented to the NPC stated yesterday.
With the reshuffle, the MOH will be responsible for overall coordination while handling food safety and organize investigations if and when a food crisis occurs, the bill stated.
The SFDA, which currently reports directly to the State Council like the MOH, will no longer be the country's top food and drug agency.
The task of overseeing the sanitation of the catering industry will in turn be shifted from the MOH to the SFDA, the bill stated.
The supervision of food and drug safety will be strengthened with such responsibility and power clearly defined, the bill stated.
Zhou Zhiren, a professor with the school of government at Peking University, said it will take time for the move to have effect.
He said that, at present, several departments are involved in addressing different links concerning food safety.
"To fulfill its expanded responsibility, the MOH also needs to increase the food safety inspection staff," he said.
As for drugs, the MOH will take over the responsibilities of the SFDA to set drug standards and devise a national basic medicine system intended to facilitate ongoing medical reform.
The move to put the SFDA under the management of MOH, as the bill stated, will help the management of overall medical services and drug issue administration.
SFDA spokeswoman Yan Jiangying said the move will help in its work and added that the administration's monthly press conference will not be cancelled.