China launched a national campaign on Thursday to strengthen management of the processing and circulation of food to improve quality and ensure safety.
Zhang Zhigang, vice minister of commerce, said the project would focus on promoting consumption of green food and enhancing quality control.
Most Chinese farm produce originate from individual farmers or workshops, and it is tough to monitor all of their production.
"The consumption-oriented project created a new way to improve the production," Zhang said.
The Ministry of Commerce has formulated criteria on the wholesale and retail markets for green vegetables and will map out other standards to enhance food safety management, Zhang said.
Sun Xiaokang, deputy director of the State Commission for Administration of Standardization, said priorities were the reduction of pesticide residue in agricultural products, standards on animal feed sanitation and use of additives, evaluation and test criteria for genetic modified products and standards for environment-friendly products and organic products.
The ministry would enhance direct management of packaging plants and circulation enterprises, promote chain stores, modern logistics, and electronic-business and auction methods.
Supermarkets selling fresh food were encouraged to set up near residential areas and the traditional agricultural markets should be replaced by supermarkets if possible.
Zhang said the improvement in food quality will benefit people's health and the export of agricultural products.
In recent years, Chinese exports of farm produce were hindered because they failed to meet foreign quality standards.
"Part of the problem was caused by trade protectionism, but there'r also problems with some products," said Huang Hai, assistant to the minister of commerce.
(Xinhua News Agency Aug 22, 2003)