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Food products required to have'QS' label starting 2008
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All Chinese food enterprises will be required to have a "QS" (quality safety) label on their products to gain market access starting on Jan. 1, the country's quality watchdog announced.

For food products produced without the stamp before the date, enterprises could negotiate with the individual sellers to keep them on the shelves, said Bi Yu'an, an official with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), in an on-line interview at www.gov.cn on Friday.

Food products made in small workshops would be required to have another symbol instead of "QS" since they were sold in limited regions. Bi gave no further details about that symbol.

The country's market access labeling system was first put into practice in 2002 to guarantee food quality and safety. However, the system hadn't yet been applied to all food products.

At the end of June, some 107,000 food production licenses had been issued to enterprises, accounting for over 90 percent of the market, according to a report about the country's food quality and safety released in August.

By the end of June, 1,276 food production licenses had been withdrawn, cancelled, revoked or nullified for substandard food products, the report revealed.

China launched a four-month nationwide campaign to crack down on unqualified food products between late August and the middle of December.

A total of 192,400 unlicensed food shops were closed and some 1,253.5 tons of substandard food were withdrawn during the campaign, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2007)

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