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Food Safety Concerns in Beijing
Food scares, such as agricultural chemical residues and growth hormones in animal feed, have aroused widespread complaints and concerns on food safety in China's capital.

Deputies at the Beijing Municipal People's Congress (BMPC) showed heightened concern about food poisoning yesterday after listening to a government work report on food safety.

Only some 79 percent of bean products, 83 percent of meat, and 89 percent of vegetables in Beijing's markets met hygiene standards, according to the capital's health bureau.

Deputies recommended introducing stricter legislation to better secure food safety and protect consumer interests.

"Our laws and regulations should define standards for food hygiene, the supervisory responsibilities for relevant departments, and penalties for those who produce unsafe foods," said deputy Li Zhenmin.

Deputy Ou Guojing said the government should strengthen its campaign of promoting pollution-free food which was initiated last year, implementing stricter safety and quality controls for farm produce throughout the process, "from the farm to the dining table."

Guaranteeing food safety is not an easy job, they said. Transportation, distribution, quality control, environmental protection and health departments at all levels should strengthen cooperation on food safety controls and supervision, said Lan Tianzhu, a member of the Standing Committee of the BMPC.

Besides the heated discussion on food safety, deputies yesterday also offered some comments and suggestions about the city's transportation after listening to a work report by Zhang Yansheng, director of the Beijing Communications Bureau.

Deputies affirmed the achievements of the improved management of taxis and mini-buses, but pointed out that there was still much to be done regarding the city's traffic.

Deputies suggested the bureau strengthen supervision on automobile maintenance, crackdown on unauthorized taxis and improve the city's bus routes.

(China Daily July 18, 2002)

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