China will invest 8.8 billion yuan (around US$1.2 billion) to
improve food and drug supervision, China's food and drug watchdog
announced on Wednesday.
"Regarding the investment, 6.3 billion will come from the
central government and the rest from the local government," said
Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman for the State Food and Drug
Administration (SFDA) at a regular press conference on
"China's food and drug supervision work began late and its
foundations are weak," she said.
"Currently, China's food and drug supervision infrastructure
system lags behind expectations, especially in western regions,"
"With this investment we expect that the infrastructure and
technology inside the food and drug administration will be up to
par within three to five years," said Yan.
Yan listed several investment projects, including the renovation
of 16 testing centers of imported drugs. The National Center for
Medical Devices Testing will also undergo renovation and the
National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological
Products will relocate.
Yan said that the SFDA has designated 16 local drug inspection
offices to test imported drugs, but 16 offices are still incapable
of testing biological products.
According to Yan, the investment will also be used to improve
the facilities of the local food and drug supervision bureaus in
the western and central parts of China.
Yan also announced on Wednesday that the SFDA would hold regular
press conferences every two weeks to brief the media on China's
food security situation. She admitted that China's food and drug
situation was unsatisfactory and vowed to improve it during China's
first regular press conference held by China's food and drug
watchdog on July 11.
The Chinese government has been under great pressure to revamp the
country's food and drug safety system following a series of
incidents attributed to substandard food and drug products. Several
bribery sandals involving high-ranking officials from the country's
food and drug watchdog were also reported.
(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2007)