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China to Improve Food Safety Systems
Source: Xinhua
Source Date: Friday, September 03, 2010
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Thematic Website, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement
Country: China
Created: Sep 06, 2010

Adjust font size: China's food monitoring and risk assessment systems are to be upgraded with new technologies and more funding, said a government report received by Xinhua Friday.

The report was submitted to China's top legislature by a food safety office under the State Council, or the Cabinet, which gave an account of the government's work in implementing the Food Safety Law.

To improve assessment of safety risks of food and agricultural products, the government had already drawn up regulations and set up national expert commissions, it said.

The government would work to build a more extensive safety risk assessment system, make assessment more scientific and standardized, and broaden its information monitoring, it said.

The report said the Ministry of Health had established 31 food safety monitor centers at provincial level and 312 at county level, while the Ministry of Agriculture had expanded monitoring of quality safety of agricultural products to 259 big and medium cities.

However, it noted that China's food safety monitoring was still in its infancy and was technologically weak, and said government departments would increase spending, among other measures, to improve monitoring.

The report gave no details for the spending plans.

Food safety becomes a nationwide concern in China after a spate of food safety incidents such as food contamination and illegal use of prohibited ingredients and additives in food production.

The most recent major scandal involved a brand of edible oil, which was found to contain ingredients that can lead to cancer.

In 2008, melamine-tainted milk caused at least six babies died and 300,000 fell ill after they were fed with the contaminated baby formula.

To address the concern, the State Council set up a national food safety commission and appoint Vice Premier Li Keqiang as it head in February 2009.Later that month, China's top legislature adopted the Food Safety law.

The State Council office of food safety is a working body of the commission.
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