China working to increase food safety measures

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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BEIJING — Chinese officials are working to implement stronger food and drug safety goals during the next five years, which will include stronger surveillance and export controls.

Li Changjiang, director of the General Administration on Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and Wei Chuanzhong, the administration’s deputy director, have identified measures that need to be implemented in order to guarantee the safety of exported food. This includes inspections at food sources and ports, more random sample testing and increased cooperation with the United States. They also identified a need for better law enforcement and punishment for those who ignore food safety rules.

A five-year plan was released in April and recently posed to the State Council’s web site, outlining steps to increase national inspections, surveillance and investigations of "major food safety incidents," in addition to recall efforts for bad products. The quality control administration has announced plans to begin its first recall system for unsafe products by the end of 2007.

There has been a long list of food safety infractions with products from China recently. U.S. inspectors have banned or turned away a number of Chinese exports in recent months, including wheat gluten tainted with melamine. Monkfish were discovered to have life-threatening levels of pufferfish toxins, frozen eel was laced with drugs, and juice was made with unsafe color additives.

Food safety is also a problem within China as the Health Ministry reported nearly 34,000 food-related illnesses in 2005.

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