Fengxian tests WeChat tip-off system

FOOD authorities in Fengxian District are testing a WeChat tip-off service to rid the nuisance of unlicensed food businesses with rewards for whistleblowers.

After being tipped off, the officials from the Fengxian District Market Supervision and Management Bureau will follow it up within three days and inform the relevant community food and drug watchdogs, which will verify the report and deliver a feedback, again within three days.

If the tip-off proves right, the whistleblower will be rewarded.

The WeChat tip-off system only targets unlicensed restaurants, and the reward is 30 yuan (US$4.41) per tip. The WeChat platform is fengxianshian, which accepts both text messages and photos.

The reward will be delivered within nine working days through WeChat cash transfer.

Compared to other rewards system on food safety in Shanghai, this is being tested much faster.

The previous ones require neighborhood food safety authorities to submit written materials to district market supervision and management authorities after being tipped off, and delivering administrative punishment. The materials are then transferred to the city food authorities after being verified. The rewards are delivered to district authorities by the city authorities.

“It takes at least half a year for whistleblowers to receive the reward under the system. It can be as long as one year sometimes that frustrates the public’s willingness to tip off,” said Ma Jinzhou, director of the Fengxian District Market Supervision and Management Bureau.

The WeChat trial started last month, and they have received 12 tip-offs already. Among them, a whistleblower surnamed Jin received a reward three days after tipping off about an unlicensed dumpling restaurant on Pingzhuang Road East in the district.

The eatery had dirty environment, and its workers made dumplings without washing hands after taking cash, Jin said.

“It is an efficient way of tipping off, and the reward was distributed very quickly,” said Jin.