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Market Stands by Pork
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A local wholesale agricultural products market is preparing to launch China's first quality insurance scheme for pork after Spring Festival.

Under the program, an insurance company will pay up to 5 million yuan (US$644,000) in compensation if more than three people fall ill because of drug or chemical residue in the pork sold at the market.

In the event of a poisoning accident, victims will receive compensation within a week.

Zhu Wenzhao, the market's spokesman, said the market's 80 pork dealers had signed up for the insurance scheme.

The market has also set up a tracking system under which every piece of pork sold there will include a tag with information about the meat's origins. Customers can go to the market's website to find out where their pork came from.

The city's food and drug administration hopes to introduce this system in other wholesale markets in Shanghai.

"The traditional spot-check can't ensure the 100 percent safety of all meat," said a spokesman for the administration.

"With this tracking system, each piece is identified. The insurance system also demonstrates the management's confidence in the quality of service."

"We want to improve food quality and provide affordable meat to the people. Markets play an important role in the sale of meat," said the spokesman.

About 80 to 90 per cent of the city's pork supply comes from wholesale markets.

The Shanghai Food And Drug Administration started conducting more inspections of pork at the end of last year to ensure food safety during the festival season.

An inspection earlier this month showed that all meat, fruit and vegetables sold at 19 wholesale markets had met the city's quality standards.

Shanghai Central Wholesale Market for Agricultural Products is one of the largest markets of its kind in the city, providing about 15 percent of the city's pork supply.

(China Daily February 15, 2007)

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