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China Places Emphasis on Food Quality, Safety
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China's food safety officials will tighten supervision over farm produce safety, focusing on fresh vegetables and aquatic products, according to a top official from the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing on Monday.

At a national meeting on quality safety of produce, Minister Sun Zhengcai announced that authorities would intensify daily monitoring and special testing of produce as well as production materials.

This would particularly affect inspections of fresh produce such as vegetables, livestock and aquatic products at production bases, wholesale markets and supermarkets.

These would focus on pesticides, animal medicines, feed additives and fertilizers banned or with limited application.

The official monitoring and test results would be made public, said Sun.

Recent cases of food safety problems include carcinogenic mandarin and turbot fish, and ducks and hens that were fed cancer-causing Sudan Red dye to turn their egg yolks red.

Sun said agricultural authorities above county level would dispatch quality inspectors to wholesale produce markets depending on the conditions.

He also instructed agricultural officials to create environmental safety evaluation mechanisms and begin monitoring produce production bases, introduce quality safety supervisors in townships to improve business production, and implement a labeling system for genetically modified food and milk.

The government would also boost the development of farmers cooperatives and flagship agricultural businesses, and set up emergency response systems to deal with produce quality incidents.

(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2007)

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