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New QS Mark Means Safer Food
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There have been too many food poisoning incidents in recent years. So the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) is stepping in with a new licensing system to ensure food safety. The first of this new safe food will be with the public before the Spring Festival.

The system will introduce new measures for the strict supervision of the production, quality inspection and sale of food. AQSIQ will issue licenses to producers that are able to meet the new standards.

Those who cannot get a license will just not be able to trade. Food production will be subject to compulsory inspection and only once standards have been properly assured will the food be permitted to leave the factory. Food will be labeled with a "QS" branding to show it is "qualified and safe" for consumption. The new system will allow consumers to have confidence in the food they put on the table.

By the second quarter of this year, AQSIQ will have developed the scheme to cover meat, milk, tea, drinks and seasoning. A survey revealed significant problems with quality in these particular types of food. Of the nation's 20,600 producers of these five products, some 45 percent are small organizations with fewer than ten staff, 60 percent are not covered by food inspection procedures and 10 percent are operating without licenses. There is a clear need for the introduction of the new more rigorous measures.

Information on the enterprises that have been successful in gaining their new food producers' licenses will soon be made public. Consumers can look out for the new QS marks showing their meat, milk, tea, drinks and seasonings from properly licensed suppliers.

(china.org.cn by Feng Yikun, January 23, 2003)

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