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Most Vegetables Safe
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The vegetables grown in China are fine and there's nothing to worry about their quality, a senior official of the country's leading vegetable testing center said yesterday.


"The compliance rate of vegetables to the national standards has improved greatly," said Liu Su, deputy director of the supervision and testing center for vegetables' quality of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).


The center's tests for chemical residues show that the rate of compliance of vegetables rose from 82 percent in 2003 to 93 percent last year. In fact, the compliance rate reached 93.6 percent in April this year.


The center sets the regular monitoring standards for 37 provincial capitals and cities. It tests 60 to 70 varieties of the most popular vegetables, including pepper, cucumber and tomatoes, and has stored more than 1.2 million data since 2003.


The quality of vegetables has improved over the past couple of years, said Lin Huan, chief of the center's laboratory and in charge for pesticide residue tests.


"The quality and safety of agricultural products is at the heart of food safety. The MOA has quality supervision and regulation high on its agenda," said Zhang Yuxiang, director of MOA's marketing and information department.


The food safety watchdog has taken action both to check the misuse of banned pesticide and to set up a surveillance system.


An MOA source said the agricultural safety watchdog seized 4.9 million tons of banned pesticide across the country in the first half of this year.


Also, the MOA is mulling setting up a tracking system for food products to ensure utmost food safety.


"The tracking system is very important because it can monitor every step in the food production process," said Professor Cai Tongyi, who is a consultant to Beijing Olympic Food Safety Consulting Committee.


"The vegetables to be supplied for next year's Beijing Olympic Games will be absolutely safe," Liu said.


(China Daily August 3, 2007)


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