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A New Judicial Interpretation Offers Greater Protection to Food and Drug Consumers

Q: When will the new judicial Interpretation come into effect?

A: with the purpose of strengthening food and drug safety, China’s supreme court promulgated he Judicial Interpretation on Issues concerning the Application of Laws relating to Food and Drug Disputes (the “Interpretation”) on January 9. 2014, which will come into effect on March 15, 2014.

Q: Should the producer or seller who manufacture or sell the promotional gifts, under the Interpretation, be responsible for the safety of foods and drugs?

A: Yes. Under the Interpretation, even in the scenario where the producer or seller manufacture or sell the promotional gifts, they should also be responsible for the safety

Q: Should the online stores be responsible for the damages caused by online-sold food or drugs?

A: Yes. The Interpretation specifies that if the online store platform provider become aware of the producer’s or sellers’ infringement on the online-sold food or drug and fail to take action, and if the online-sold food cause the damages to the consumer, the online store and platform provider should bear joint and several liability. In the event that online store platform provider is never be aware of the producer’s or sellers’ infringement on the online-sold food or drug, they should provide the name or contact details of the infringing producer or seller otherwise they would bear liability.

Q: Will the consumers who intentionally purchase some counterfeit products be protected under the Interpretation?

A: Yes. The Interpretation will protect those consumers when they intentionally purchase some counterfeit products. The defendants is no longer able to rely on the grounds that those consumers have full knowledge of these counterfeit products having quality problems to defend themselves.

Q: How the Interpretation stipulates the validity of exemption clauses?

A:  The Interpretation stipulates that producers or sellers of food or drugs are not allowed, through contract, notification, or other declaration, to waive their obligations, restrict consumer rights, expand consumer obligations, or attempt to impose other unreasonable conditions on consumers.


Q: How the Interpretation specify the punitive damages?

A: If the food or drugs fail to meet safety standard, the consumer has the right to claim for 10 times the compensatory damages in punitive.


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