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Guangzhou Tightens Food Safety System
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A new food safety monitoring system will be put into operation by the end of next year, authorities have said.

Currently being piloted in the city's Tianhe district, the system covers all aspects of the supply process, from raw materials to restaurants. It provides an electronic record of test results and related information and sends automatic warnings and updates to government departments and retailers.

Cao Jianliao, vice-mayor of Guangzhou, said yesterday the system was part of a range of measures to ensure food safety. He was speaking at the launch of food safety week.

The event, jointly organized by the provincial food safety office of Guangdong, the municipal food safety office of Guangzhou and Carrefour (China) Food Safety Foundation, aims to promote food safety across the city.

Other measures being taken to ensure food safety include labeling vegetables with their ID information - production origin, fertilizer and pesticide applications and test results; extending the "safe breakfast" program to the suburban population; and extending the "safe lunch" service, initially tailored to elementary and secondary schools, to local companies, Cao said.

He said vegetables with ID information will be available in quantity in about a month, and the city government is currently tendering bids for more qualified breakfast and lunch service providers to expand the safe breakfast and lunch service network.

"Ensuring food safety requires supervision by the government, responsible suppliers and consumer participation to help weed out unsafe products," Cao said.

"And food suppliers have the most important job of all."

Cao said the city government will also improve its food safety credit mechanism by updating regulations, setting up credit archives for suppliers, applying an electronic monitoring system to food processing, standardizing the food market threshold, sharing safety information, and improving the emergency mechanism.

Lin Jing, the deputy secretary-general of Carrefour (China) Food Safety Foundation, said the foundation has spared no efforts to promote food quality and safety in China since it was set up in 2004.

(China Daily September 4, 2007)

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