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Food safety campaign yields positive results
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A regular inspection last month by the Ministry of Agriculture showed that food quality in 37 major cities has improved after a four-month promotional campaign, the ministry said on Friday.

The nationwide inspection of vegetables, pork and aquatic products found acceptance rates had risen since August when the campaign was launched.

The inspection found that:

- 95.3 percent of the country's vegetables were safe in terms of pesticide residues.

- 98.4 percent of meat products were up to scratch with regard to residues of clenobuterol hydrochloride, a drug some farmers used to put in pig feed but which is now banned due to the damage it can cause to the human heart.

- 99.8 percent of aquatic products were free of chloramphenicol, and 95.7 percent were free from malachite green, both of which are banned fish food supplements.

- No pork products in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and 25 other cities were polluted with banned drugs.

- Aquatic products in seven cities including Beijing, Tianjin and Guangzhou were also found to be safe from illegal drugs.

The ministry, which carries out five regular food safety inspections a year, attributed the achievements to its four-month campaign.

It said in a news release that all 676 agricultural wholesale markets in large and medium cities have now been put under surveillance, up from 479 in September.

Five kinds of pesticides that the ministry banned for their high toxicity have been seized and destroyed.

The ministry also issued six regulations on pesticide registry management to standardize labeling and control product quantities.

"Thanks to the campaign, public awareness of agricultural product quality and food safety has been strengthened," the news release said.

The ministry said it will follow up the campaign by cracking down on fake agricultural supplies and develop a network that gives farmers access to authentic and good-quality agricultural materials.

(China Daily December 29, 2007)

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