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Hyping Pollution-free Foodstuff
If consumption of pollution-free food becomes a trend in China, and the government dramatically develops markets and supply channels for such food, chances are that production of such edibles will take root faster in the farms and fields throughout the country.

This is the concept being sold by the State Economic and Trade Commission, which yesterday said it will continue to promote "green consumption" among the public and improve market access and transportation systems to facilitate safe and efficient movement of products to consumers.

Pollution-free, or "green" food refers to produce processed with a high-level of attention paid to quality standards.

Zhang Zhigang, vice-minister of the commission, said: "Different from some advanced countries where agriculture is highly industrialized, China's farming sector features a low level of industrialization, making it sometimes difficult to supervise the production link."

In China, those engaged in food production and wholesale and retail distribution number in the millions and their enterprises come in various sizes.

In case of food contamination, it is sometimes hard to locate the direct perpetrators, Zhang told a press conference in Beijing.

Therefore, his commission and seven other ministries or State agencies have come up with the idea of advocating consumption of pollution-free food as part of an up-to-date society, hoping to establish a "green" craze that will have a positive effect on agricultural production and food processing.

The idea has been put to the test in a score of provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions over the past two years, where the trend of green consumption has begun to take shape, Zhang said.

As part of the initiatives, all the wholesale markets in Qingdao, Dalian and Nanjing cities have installed quality and hygiene examination equipment, and the number of counters selling pollution-free food - including organic food - are increasing in major cities, according to Zhang.

In addition to speeding up food-safety legislation, China has also improved transport means to ensure speedy food circulation, he said.

So far three railways and four highways have been opened specially for the fast transport of fresh and green food, he said.

(China Daily July 9, 2002)

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