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Food-safety System in Pipeline

 The Ministry of Commerce is setting up a tougher supervisory system for food distribution to enhance food safety.

Vice-Minister Zhang Zhigang said yesterday that the ministry will complete a draft of a series of rules and regulations governing food distribution by the end of this year.

"The rules involving the procedures for food processing, packaging, storage, transportation and sales are being drafted or amended," Zhang said.

Food-safety monitoring and testing sites will also be set up in key cities in China as a step towards establishing a national network, he added.

"A strict supervisory network for food safety will not only improve people's health but also increase food exports," Zhang said.

Government departments have worked continuously to ensure food safety in China but people are often concerned about poisoning incidents, which hamper the development of China's food industry.

Industry experts agreed that China's food industry can only develop healthily and be a strong competitor in the world market by exercising stricter quality control.

The ministry's move will help form a comprehensive network for food safety rather than conducting frequent inspections.

Zhang said the ministry will also encourage food retailers to establish a greater presence in supermarkets and chain stores, where conditions are better than at farm markets.

He said a system will be drawn up "soon" to kick out suppliers of substandard food.

(China Daily August 22, 2003)


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