The online trend of mukbang — viral videos in which social media influencers binge eat a large quantity of food while talking to viewers — may soon become illegal in China, according to a new draft legislation against food wastage.
The legislation of the Chinese government criminalises media content that promotes binge eating or food wastage under which influencers can be fined of up to 100,000 yuan (£11,388) and have their business operations suspended if they violate the law, according to the state-run China News Service.
Mukbang videos have been increasingly popular in China and throughout the world. The viral trend originated from South Korea and has created a category of online entertainment for itself on YouTube, Facebook and Chinese social media sites.
On Wednesday, the draft legislation was submitted for the first review by the standing committee of the national people’s congress, the country’s top legislative body, according to the report.
The new law will not be limited to internet videos but also extend to television, radio and catering services. Any content creator who promotes overeating or binge eating will be held responsible and food wastage in real life would invite consequences.
According to the Chinese media, the draft consists of 32 articles, which specify definitions, principles and requirements for anti-food waste, responsibilities of the government and its departments, responsibilities of various entities, regulatory measures, and legal responsibilities.
In August, Xi Jinping called for a “fight against food wastage” amid a looming food crisis in the country. His statement led to speculation that such content may receive heat from the authorities. An industry body for performing arts also demanded a ban on such videos. Several local catering associations in Wuhan created guidelines for the number of dishes that could be served during group meals.
The new legislation will require catering services to discourage customers from ordering huge amounts of food that may lead to wastage. Restaurants may also be asked to offer different portion sizes and are allowed to charge consumers for having to dispose of their leftovers, according to the outlet Sixth Tone that quoted the draft.