Foreign diplomats agreed yesterday that food safety and product
quality is a common concern for all countries and called for better
international cooperation, especially information exchange and
"What we've learned in recent months is that product safety
issues are no longer one country's problem, but a global problem.
This requires a global approach and solution," Les Kumor, a
counselor at the Canadian Embassy, said.
"Experience shows the best solution is always through dialogue,
cooperation and practices complying with international rules and
Kumor made the remarks at a round-table meeting with senior
Chinese quality control officials, including Wei Chuanzhong,
vice-minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), in Zhongshan, South China's
Diplomats were present from the European Commission and 14
countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia,
Argentina, New Zealand and South Korea.
Peter Hewitt, a counselor at the Australian Embassy, said no
country is immune to quality control problems and stressed all
governments have a responsibility to improve the situation.
A report released on Tuesday by the inspection and quarantine
bureau in Shenzhen, a major port city in Guangdong Province, backed
up this thinking.
The report showed that so far this year, quarantine officers in
the city had found 80 batches of unsafe frozen meat from other
countries, much higher than the same period last year.
This year, officers in Shenzhen conducted two on-the-spot
inspections on imported woven garments, and found 71 out of 81
samples were substandard because of unclear labels, erroneous PH
values or excessive amounts of formaldehyde.
"While China is being criticized by foreign media for poor
product quality, we see similar problems with products from their
countries," the report said.
Hewitt said it was crucial to improve cooperation. He suggested
countries should be more understanding and comply with common
principles such as World Trade Organization rules. If possible,
local standards should be consistent with international standards
based on science.
Agricultural counselor at the US Embassy William Westman told
Wei on Tuesday his country was willing to share information,
clarify issues and offer technical support to China at anytime in
In response, Wei said future cooperation would focus on the
discussion of design and setting standards. He said China would
also learn from other countries' experience in improving
Jorgen Schlundt, director of the food safety department of the
World Health Organization (WHO), said earlier this month that
problems in emerging countries had been well documented.
The round table meeting was part of a four-day tour the AQSIQ
organized to offer diplomats a fair picture of Chinese
manufacturing. During the ongoing tour, starting on Tuesday in
Guangdong, diplomats were shown toy and garment factories,
vegetable farms and testing laboratories.
"The tour improves our comprehension of your systems," Raimondo
Serra, a counselor with the European Commission, said.
"I've repeatedly heard the phrase 'quality should start at the
source', and these words are like music to my ears," he said,
adding that this was a EU principle.
(China Daily September 27, 2007)