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Enhance Food Safety
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The White Paper on the nation's food quality and food security situation released yesterday aims to put at ease the hearts of consumers at home and abroad.

Despite a string of health concerns triggered by fake and below-standard food products recently, the authoritative document insists that overall food quality has been improving steadily in the country.

According to the White Paper, last year 77.9 percent of food products sampled in the domestic market were up to standard, and the proportion for the first half of this year rose to 85.1 percent.

Meanwhile, as a major world food exporter, the country's food product exports are over 99 percent up-to-standard.

Such encouraging results are certainly good news for consumers and our trade partners.

As a responsible country, China has set up an effective system for safeguarding every link in food exports. Hence, a few bad producers should not be regarded as representing all Chinese food exports.

The Chinese government has always taken food safety seriously as it concerns people's health, the market's credibility and the country's image.

In recent years, efforts have been made by concerned authorities to tighten industry regulations, step up legislation and law enforcement and improve supervision of food quality.

The country has vowed to take severe measures to punish company culprits, including blacklisting them and imposing export ban.

To improve its administration in food quality and safety and promote international trade in food products, the country has also been keen on borrowing successful experiences from other countries and has actively engaged in international co-operation.

Back at home, being aware of the fact that China's food and drug supervision work began late and its foundations weak, the country's watchdog announced earlier this month that the State will invest 8.8 billion yuan (around US$1.2 billion) to improve technology and infrastructure of food and drug supervision system.

However, it is a long way before we plug all loopholes in the whole process of food production and marketing.

The fact that nearly 5,800 tons of substandard foods were recalled in the first half of the year speaks volumes for the urgency to build a more efficient and transparent supervision system on the production and marketing of food products.

On the other hand, some profit-driven businessmen in the trade have been blatant in giving a cold shoulder to concerned regulations and laws. In this regard, severe punishment should be meted out to deter whoever dares manufacture and market fake food items.

(China Daily August 18, 2007)

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