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Food Quality Unsatisfactory in Shenzhen
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Only 53.28 percent of bean products and 63.08 percent of the cold dishes sold in Shenzhen were up to sanitary standards last year, the city's center for disease control and prevention (CDC) said yesterday.

In a report compiled after monitoring 19 kinds of food sold at markets, restaurants and canteens over the past two years, the CDC said the city's food sanitation situation remains "unsatisfactory." Only 87.84 percent of the food met the sanitary standards in 2005. In 2004, the figure was 80.87 percent, according to the report.

Excessive bacteria were the major problem with bean products, cold dishes and cooked meat, said Huang Wei, director of the CDC. Some food was found to contain excessive chemicals.

The report also warned people against lead contamination in food. In an inspection in 2004, the CDC found 4.286mg/kg of lead in some animal organs, 8.56 times the national standard. In 2005, the CDC found 21.9mg/kg of lead in some preserved eggs, 10.95 times the national standard.

Lead contamination in food is mainly caused by environment pollution, said Huang Wei. She said preserved eggs, and organs of poultry and animals contained more lead than other food.

Adults absorb 10-20 percent of the lead in food, while children absorb 40 percent, said Huang Wei. Lead slowly poisons the nervous system, the blood, and the kidneys.

The center has promised to increase food inspections and training for staff preparing food, Huang said.

(Shenzhen Daily April 13, 2006)

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