Speech by Gao Hongbin,Vice Minister of Agriculture

Oct. 29, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

First, I would like to brief you on the On-site Meeting of the National Special Rectification Program for Product Quality and Food Safety, and inform you about the achievements made in the current stage of the Special rectification program for agricultural products.

From Oct.24 to Oct. 26, the State Council held the On-site Meeting of the National Special Rectification Program for Product Quality and Food Safety in the city of Weifang , Shandong Province , focusing on agricultural products. Vice Premier Wu Yi attended the meeting, conducted inspection herself, and made an important address. The meeting mainly inspected special rectification programs for agricultural products and pork, reviewed the rectification achievements of small workshop, small restaurants and small groceries, and extended the inspection work by supervision authorities of some counties and cities. Plan for future rectification work was made at the meeting. In the next stage, we need to both consolidate past achievements, and further intensify the rectification efforts. Based on the consolidation of past achievements of special rectification program, we shall further intensify our efforts on rectification of quality and safety of agricultural products and pork, exercise strict supervision over production and processing, and carry out all tasks of the special rectification program to the full.

On Oct. 25th, the participants of the meeting, divided into 11 groups, conducted on-site inspection and evaluated the special rectification program in Shandong Province . They have examined altogether 82 spots in 8 cities including Shouguang of Weifang City, Zhangqiu of Jinan City, Zhouping of Binzhou City, and so forth. Among these 82 spots, there are 23 bases of animal farming, 13 shops engaged in the agricultural inputs business, 6 agricultural products whole sale markets, 6 swine slaughter houses, 9 small scale workshops, 5 groceries, and 10 small restaurants. After checking, looking, listening, and asking, the participants held that the provincial government and provincial party committee of Shandong Province has attached great importance to the special rectification program for agricultural products, faithfully implemented the arrangement made by the state council for special rectification program, strengthened leadership and organization, clearly defined responsibilities of all levels, extensively mobilized the public, and carry out the tasks with great completeness. The participants concluded that Shandong Province has taken detailed, practical and strong rectification measures, and achieved great success in special rectification program. It is to worth summarizing Shandong 's experiences and extending them to the whole country.

In the past two months since the special rectification program was launched, under the overall arrangement by the state council and with the close cooperation of ministries and departments of reform and development, public security, commerce, customs, industry and commerce, quality inspection and supervision, environmental protection, drug administration, the agricultural departments at all levels have carried out various activities centering around the four goals, and three focuses, and implemented 6 major tasks so as to advance the special rectification program in an all round way.

On the one hand, intensive efforts were made in regulation and supervision of agricultural products. 318,000 person times of law-enforcing staff have taken action. They inspected a total of 188,000 enterprises and markets, investigated and took care of 10612 violations of law, filed 5259 cases for prosecution, transferred 37 cases to judicial authority, cracked down 8 counterfeiting spots, closed down 187 enterprises without license, and revoked the licenses of 12 enterprises.

On the other hand, we have also been committed to the education and training of farmers. All over China , more than 200, 000 training courses have been conducted, and more than 12 million posters, booklets and knowledge leaflets have been distributed. More than 20 million person times of farmers have bee trained. More than 300, 000 technical staff went to the rural areas and provided guidance to more than 18 million rural households. New progress has been made in enhancing the quality and safety of agricultural products. According to the result of the random checks the Ministry of Agriculture conducted on the 100 agricultural products whole sale markets, 94 percent of the vegetables tested are qualified in terms of pesticide residue, 99 percent of animal products tested have met the standards concerning “clenbuterol pollution”, and 95 percent of aquatic products tested are qualified in terms of drug residue. The specific measures we took mainly focus on the following fields.

First, on the rectification of wholesale markets of agricultural products. Efforts were made to intensify quality and safety supervision of wholesale markets in large and medium-sized cities, with enlarged supervision scale and increased supervision frequency. All wholesale markets of agricultural products in 676 large and medium-sized cities across China are now covered by surveillance network of the agricultural authorities, 44 percentage points higher than that before the special rectification program. Agricultural authorities have been working with industrial and business authorities to supervise these wholesale markets to establish a number of systems such as business record and reporting of agricultural products with inferior quality, and roll out categorized market regulation.

Second, on the rectification of highly-poisonous pesticides. MOA revoked registration of 11 highly-poisonous pesticides by 7 enterprises, enhanced monitoring of highly-poisonous pesticides (such as methamidophos) exporters, and launched “liaison system for the national pesticide supervision and management network”, with a purpose to firmly ban the production, marketing and utilization of 5 types of highly-poisonous pesticide such as methamidophos. 479 tons of highly-poisonous pesticides including methamidophos were confiscated. A number of models were created to disseminate new-type safe pesticides, such as chain operation and supply of agricultural production means in Jiangsu and Zhejiang, subsidy for “used bottle recovery” in Beijing, and demonstration area for alternative pesticide in Guangdong.

Third, on the rectification of feed and animal products. MOA organized quality surveillance on feed and animal products together with the National Feed Inspection Center and feed inspection institutions in provinces. 2002 feed samples were taken to test use of unapproved drugs, with a compliance rate of 98.9 percent. 235 farms and 8 slaughter houses in major swine production provinces, such as Hebei , Zhejiang and Jiangxi , were inspected on the use of clenbuterol. 2154 swine urine samples were taken, with clenbuterol detectable rate of 0.51 percent, 0.11 percentage points lower than the first six months. 775 swine urine samples were taken to test the use of unapproved drugs, with compliance rate of 100 percent. 4200 feed samples were tested on bovine and sheep/goat derived materials, with compliance rate of 98.69 percent.

Fourth, on the rectification of animal drugs and swine production. Measures were adopted to put stringent rules on the quarantine of place of production and slaughter, step up law enforcement on animal health supervision, drive forth establishment of animal labeling and disease traceability system, thus making preliminary achievements on the traceable management of quality and safety of animals and animal products.

Fifth, on the rectification of drug residue with aquatic products. MOA and over 10 major fishery provinces conducted sample supervisions or routine inspections on major aquatic products such as Ictalurus punctatus, prawn, eel, and river crab. 2000 samples were tested, 17216 law enforcement personnel were mobilized, 9875 aquatic farms, feed stores, and aquatic markets were inspected, and 51 violation cases were investigated.

Sixth, on the rectification of certified products. Programs were carried out to inspect management effectiveness, production and operation compliance and products quality and safety concerning bio-safety agricultural products, greed food and organic agricultural products. Package labeling system was mobilized on the above-mentioned 3 types of products, which further harmonized labeling practices for the certified products.

In the next stage, the agricultural authorities will vigorously put into place spirits of Shandong site meeting, build up rectification achievements in the previous stage, make more strenuous efforts, bring rectification programs to a deeper and more sustained level, and strive for the all-rounded success of rectification programs.