(ECNS) -- Businesses selling food and providing catering services online are now required to show their food trade licenses and have brick-and-mortar stores, according to China Food and Drug Administration, reported the Beijing News.
The requirements came as part of an administrative draft designed to improve supervision of online food and catering services. New rules also require third-party platforms such as Meituan, Eleme and Baidu, which provide takeaway food booking and selling services, to take more responsibility and ensure real-name registration of suppliers.
Online platforms that fail to carry out random examinations of such suppliers could be warned, or fined 5,000 yuan (7) to 30,000 yuan, the draft said.
Revenues in China's online food delivery market hit 152.4 billion yuan last year, according to a report. In January, Beijing Food and Drug Administration said 225 online food shops, some of which provided services through third-party online platforms, were forced to shut down or go offline because they did not have food trade licenses.
Hu Jinguang, vice-president of the Law School at Renmin University of China, said the popular trend toward online meal delivery has increased the information gap between food producers and consumers, adding that some suppliers may conceal or provide false information online.
The government should strengthen supervision over online shops and platforms and encourage information transparency to promote food safety, Hu added.