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Shanghai Tackles Food Safety Concerns

Shanghai's city government yesterday responded to a quality food scandal involving the city's dairy giant Bright Dairy & Food Co, promising to safeguard food safety.

The food company has been in trouble since local media outlets in Zhengzhou, capital of the Central China's Henan Province, reported last month that one of its factories in the city recycled out-of-date milk.

Pictures of the milk bags were taken outside the warehouse. The bags had flies running over them.

"The municipal government has ordered the Bright company to find out what went on as soon as possible, and has asked it to strengthen supervision over its local co-operators," Jiao Yang, spokeswoman of the Shanghai municipal government, said at a regular briefing yesterday.

"Food safety is always a top priority in the government's work, and in no cases will we not do our job properly," Jiao said.

She added that dairy products in the Shanghai market are safe, given the strict safety standards the local authorities have adhered to.

The Bright Dairy & Food Co is a top dairy brand in China and is popular in the Shanghai market. The reported scandal in Zhengzhou was seen as a result of quality control failures following the rapid acquisition of other firms.

The Bright company has issued a statement denying that it has ever recycled out-of-date products. It also sent several senior executives to Zhengzhou to co-operate with the investigation by the province's quality inspection authority.

The company's share price on the Shanghai Securities Exchange has fallen on five consecutive trading days since last Thursday, losing more than 100 million yuan (US$12 million) in share value.

Jiao Yang yesterday also announced a new government directive, which is designed to improve the appearance of the country's most stylish city.

The directive outlines limits on the design of buildings, public facilities and landscaping. For example, shops along main avenues should use transparent curtains that are in tune with their surroundings.

The city authorities now also want new public landscaping projects to use plants that change with the seasons.

(China Daily June 16, 2005)

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