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Olympics food will be 'totally safe'
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Athletes and officials will not be allowed to carry their own food inside the Olympic Village during the Beijing Games, according to established international practice, a top food safety official said Thursday.

Responding to a question on whether foreigners, including athletes, can carry their own food because of safety concerns, Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) Li Changjiang said that would not be necessary.

Why would foreigners have to carry their own food when they can enjoy the absolutely safe food on offer, he said at a press conference on the sidelines of the NPC and CPPCC sessions.

Chinese laws ban food from areas under quarantine restrictions, he said, and anyone carrying it will have to follow the country's laws and regulations.

"I believe no one will let go of the chance to savor authentic Chinese food, and I don't think they (foreign participants) will carry their own food," he said.

Reiterating the safety of the food to be served at the Games he said the government attaches great importance to it. "All food supplied for the Games have to meet the highest international safety standards and pass the strictest of tests."

Food suppliers for the Games are under strict market supervision, and they have been or will be selected only after fulfilling a series of criteria.

Food products will be transported directly from the processing plants to the Olympics Village and the hotels occupied by officials and journalists to prevent any contamination in the intermediary stages. Also, GPS will be used to monitor transportation and storage.

Concern over the safety of some China-made food products have made news in recent times, with the last being the alleged dumpling poisoning case. Japanese media reported that 10 people fell ill in December and January after eating frozen dumplings imported from a Chinese company and that a pesticide, methamidophos, was found in the vomit of the victims and on the packets.

China and Japan both believe the case was a deliberate act of sabotage, Li said, and it won't harm President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan later in the year.

Investigation into the case is going on, Li said, and a team comprising top Chinese police sleuths will leave for Japan soon to uncover the truth.

AQSIQ has taken notice of the latest report that pesticide was also found on 39 more dumpling packets in Hyogo, Japan.

"I believe the new discovery will have a positive impact on the investigation of the dumpling poisoning case," he said. "Chinese police have asked their Japanese counterparts to provide more information on the latest findings."

(China Daily March 14, 2008)

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