Quality control staffers of food manufacturers in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, are being required to take compulsory exams on food safety regulations, and those who fail twice can lose their jobs, the Hangzhou Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau said Tuesday.
A food processing company's laboratory technician, quality controller and owner or manager are required to pass the test before its license is renewed.
The computer-based test consists of 100 questions on regulations governing food safety that are selected from a pool of 1,700 questions.
"Almost 80 percent of companies that have taken the test so far have passed. If a test-taker fails twice, the company will have to replace him or her," said an official surnamed Han from the bureau's food production supervision department, adding that those who fail must be transferred to other jobs not responsible for food safety.
"There are some 2,000 food manufactures in the city, and more than 800 people from 300 companies have taken the test since May," said Han. "Company representatives have to take the test before their production license is renewed, which must be done every three years."
Staffers from several giant food and beverage companies in the city, including Nongfu Spring and Master Kong, have taken the test.
Zong Qinghou, chairman of the Hangzhou-based Wahaha Group, said on his Sina Weibo in September that it took him only 20 minutes to finish. "All the questions are work-related so it's quite easy for me."
Fang Youzong, former deputy director of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration, told the Global Times that the test might be focusing on the wrong personnel. "A legal representative of a company is in charge of deciding its overall development not knowing the procedures for how something is supposed to be sterilized."
"What the government needs to do is to let companies know their responsibility and to supervise them," Fang added.
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