Food poisoning killed 89 people and caused 3,643 to fall ill in China in the first half of this year, said the Chinese Ministry of Health.
Of the 116 food poisoning cases reported to the ministry, 42 were caused by chemical products such as pesticides or rat poison. In most cases, due to human error, these chemical products contaminated either foodstuffs or food storage utensils.
Only a few cases involved the deliberate poisoning of food. A total of 977 people became ill and 52 died in such cases. Improper procedures in the kitchen caused 1,213 people to become ill and killed nine.
Health departments are urged to improve efficiency in investigating and reporting.
(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2003)