At a press conference on food safety in Beijing yesterday, a senior official said less than half of Chinese consumers think the food they buy is safe, and that 8 percent of domestic food fails to meet national standards.
Huang Hai, assistant minister of commerce, said the consumer's confidence index is now below 50 percent for all kinds of food.
About 8 percent of domestic food does not reach national food safety standards and 7 percent of vegetable products exceed limits for pesticide residues, Huang said.
Responding to a question about the malachite green that was detected in fish sold in many provinces last week, he also conceded that, despite being banned since 2002, the carcinogen is still used by the fishing industry as a cheap way to kill parasites.
Huang said that there have been improvements in recent years, but that "the domestic food safety situation is still severe."
Supervision over food safety is particularly weak in suburbs and rural areas, he said.
The ministry also publicized a list of 30 name brands of domestic food products that were commended for having good food safety standards.
(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2005)