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China to Hold Annual Conference on Food Security

China is slated to hold its annual conference on food security September 18-19 in an effort to build a nationwide network of food safety, according to sources with the organizing committee on Friday.

This year's conference will focus on creating feasible measures to ensure food security, establishing a way to collect and distribute information, and fostering international cooperation, said Hu Meilan, deputy secretary-general of conference's organizing committee.

In recent years, China has frequent accidents caused by substandard food or food poisoning. These incidents were often the result of lax food safety controls or intentional attacks prompted by feuds or business disputes.

Earlier this year, inferior milk powder led to 13 deaths and malnutrition of 189 babies in east China's Anhui Province. Following the accident, the government launched a nationwide food safety crackdown.

The State Council, China's central government, has always pinpointed a crackdown on inferior-quality products on its agenda of market regulation efforts.

In 2003, the government decided to start the annual conference for tighter control on food security. Initiated last year, the conference is sponsored by the China National Food Industry Association, and has the support of six major national government agencies, including the ministries of agriculture, commerce, and health, as well as the General Administration for Industry and Commerce, and the State Food and Drug Administration.

Ranking government officials, prestigious experts and entrepreneurs from both China and overseas are expected to participate in the conference.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2004)

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