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Toxin-free Farm Produce Promised
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The government will clamp down on the use of illegal or excessive chemicals in agricultural products in the latest move to restore confidence in food and product safety.

"The overall quality of the agri-products in the country will be ensured," Sun Zhengcai, minister of agriculture, said. "Consumers can be at ease when eating them."

The average acceptance rate regarding pesticide residues in vegetables was 93.6 percent in the first half of 2007; those regarding clenbuterol hydrochloride contamination and sulfa drug residues in livestock products was 98.8 percent and 99.0 percent respectively, Sun said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

He added that more than 99 percent of Chinese food exports to the United States, the European Union and Japan met quality standards over the last four years.

The recent results showed that "the ratio of agricultural products passing inspections is the highest in history", Sun was quoted as saying by the People's Daily yesterday.

He said close attention has been paid to establishing a food safety supervisory process "from farmland, to market and to the dining table".

Sun also pledged to get tough with the use of toxic pesticides and addictives to reduce residues in farm produce.

He said the ministry has launched a campaign to put all wholesale agri-products markets in the large- and medium-sized cities under surveillance, and to eliminate the use of forbidden veterinary medicines and foodstuff addictives in major production bases.

In a related development, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine said yesterday that since last weekend, food exports have not been allowed to leave the country without a quarantine label.

The compulsory label system is a new measure to strengthen the supervision of food exports, said the administration.

The move came after the administration introduced a landmark recall system last week, requiring producers to take back unsafe toys and food.

The government released a white paper on food quality safety last month.

Chinese agri-products are exported to more than 210 countries and regions.

(China Daily September 4, 2007)

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