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Measures Taken to Prevent Diseases Spreading into China
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China has taken effective measures in the first half of 2006 to prevent animal and plant diseases getting into the country as well as stopping poisonous and harmful substances from arriving.

Ge Zhirong, vice minister of the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (SAQSIQ) announced the success of the initiatives at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday.

During the period Chinese authorities intercepted 1,905 varieties of pests in plants and plant products on 44,781 occasions as well as 14 varieties of poisonous and harmful substances on 120 occasions, Ge said.

"We intercepted diseases as well as poisonous and harmful substances in entry animals and animal products on 131 occasions," he added.

China has published 21 prohibition notices due to the H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in poultry in countries like Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. They've also put in place a further 18 prohibition notices in relation to the H5N1 outbreak among wild migratory and ornamental birds in the countries like Kuwait, Cyprus and Italy, Ge explained. .

"We've inspected 110,200 batches of imported scrap material with a total weight of 15.99 million tons and a value of US$4.599 billion of which 298 batches were unqualified," he added. China had taken measures to strictly control the importation of copper concentrates whose harmful content had exceeded acceptable standards, Ge stated.

Ge explained that China had detected 5,683 people with different types of diseases among those entering and exiting the country in the first half of this year. This figure included 290 with HIV.

According to statistics released by the SAQSIQ, in the first half of this year, quality supervision, inspection and quarantine systems around the country gave health quarantines to 126 million people coming into or leaving the country.

China provided health examinations for 595,800 people, HIV/AIDS tests for 562,700 and vaccinations for 535,200.

Among those found to have health problems 1,393 were suffering from a sexual disease, 329 had tuberculosis, 3,594 hepatitis and 77 other diseases.

The authorities also seized and destroyed 3,514 tons of illegally imported meat products in the first half of this year, said Ge.

Between January-June the SAQSIQ adjusted the approved list of meat importing countries and companies six times. Although 169 foreign companies have been permitted to export meat to China the meat products from 26 other registered foreign meat producers were suspended due to quality or safety problems.

The administration also carried out quality and control checks on 29 categories of imported products including rice, meat, plant oil and cosmetics.

By the end of June this year 370 types of food in 29 categories defined by national standards have been included in the production license and market access system. This accounts for 70 percent of all the food varieties. And 65,000 production licenses for food have been issued. At present the administration is launching a market access system for another 525 types of food under 28 categories defined by national standards.

The administration also carried out an overall survey on food additive producers and explored the possibility of setting up a registration system for such additives in order to prohibit their illegal use.

(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2006)

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