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China to improve inspection on food safety
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China will revise 600 national standards for food safety inspection to bring them into line with international practice by 2010, a government industry watchdog announced Thursday.

Qiu Yueming, a senior official with the Standardization Administration of China, said the country's test standards lagged behind international practice, leading to failed testing results on overseas markets.

Qiu cited the case of milk powder, which was difficult to export due to inadequate carbohydrate testing.

The government has waged a massive campaign since August to address product quality and food safety issues, which includes agricultural products, food processing industries and medicine.

Pu Changcheng, deputy director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, also said Thursday that trade protectionism had triggered criticisms of Chinese products, but it was unfair to denigrate the "made-in-China" label or regard Chinese goods as inferior.

The government had introduced a series of measures to improve the quality, such as tagging qualifying labels on export goods and filing registrations of export-oriented fruit farms, said Pu.

"If any single item is found to be unqualified, it might cause restrictions or bans on the whole industry," he said, adding that such a system would "protect the long-term interests of manufacturers, especially farmers."

Pu stressed that "quality" should be the priority to compete in the international market. "We need to ensure there is no major quality problem in export goods and to prevent problematic imports from entering our market."

(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2007)

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