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Lawmaker: Trans-ministry Body to Tighten Food Safety Supervision
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A Chinese lawmaker has appealed to set up a trans-ministry agency to shoulder the responsibilities, which are undertaken by several government departments, for food safety in the hope of preventing food safety scares.

Zheng Xinsui, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), or parliament, said that the segmented supervision often results in loopholes in food safety.

Zheng, also an executive with the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, said a full set of food safety criteria should be set up at an earlier date and officials must be held accountable for food safety accidents.

He blamed the segmented and lax government checking for a string of food safety problems last year including parasite-infested snails, turbots that contain excessive amount of carcinogens, ducks and hens that were fed cancer-causing Sudan Red dye to make their egg yolks red.

Food safety has become a major concern of Chinese people. According to a survey by the State Food and Drug Administration, 65 percent of the respondents worried about the food safety situation in China.

He suggested that the government set up a "farmland to kitchen" food safety supervision mechanism to include food growing and circulation processes into the overall checks.

Ren Yuling, a member of National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top political advisory body, said earlier the current punishments are often too slack to deter those involved in large-scale food safety accidents.

(Xinhua News Agency March 15, 2007)

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