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MOA Promises Vegetable Safety During Olympics
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The athletes and tourists from all over the world don't have to worry at all about vegetable safety during the Beijing Olympic Games, said an official with the Supervision and Testing Center for Vegetable Quality of Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).


Liu Su, vice director of the center said on Thursday that his center would dedicate full efforts to cooperate with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) in order to ensure vegetable safety during the sports event in 2008.


According to Liu, the center, which came into operation in January of 1999 after jointly certified by the Ministry of Agriculture and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ), now has more than 40 types of advanced testing and analyzing appliances including gas chromatographer, automatic nitrogen determining instrument, plasma emission spectrometer, ultraviolet-visible spectrometer, for testing nutritious qualities, mineral elements, microbes and various pollutants such as pesticide residues and heavy metal contents of vegetables.


Liu said the testing of vegetables at the center would strictly follow China's national standards for safe vegetables, 80 percent of which are similar to international standards.


Liu said, the MOA introduced a regular surveillance system for supervising agricultural product quality and safety in 2001. 125,000 samples of vegetables, animal products and aquatic products have been tested, and 1.1 million effective data have been collected.


At the present, the MOA regular surveillance covers pesticide residues in vegetables in 37 cities, clenbuterol contamination in animal products as well as diethylstilbestrol contamination in chicken in 36 cities, and chloramphenicol residues in aquatic products in 22 cities. According to the surveillance findings in this April, the compliance rate of vegetable samples tested for the pesticide residue in 37 cities was over 94 percent, live pig samples tested for the clenbuterol contamination 98.9 percent, the aquatic product samples tested for the chloramphenicol residues 99.4 percent.


Liu said the findings showed that agricultural product quality and safety are reliable in China.


Statistics showed that there are in total 323 ministerial quality and safety testing centers for agricultural products, and the Supervision and Testing Center for Vegetable Quality of MOA is only one of them whose special focus is on vegetable quality and safety. 12 percent of the centers focus on multi-purpose testing, 59 percent is specialized in testing of crop, animal or aquatic products, 18 percent for testing agricultural inputs, and 11 percent for other testing purposes. There are also more than 200 provincial testing centers and more than 1500 testing centers at the county level.


(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2007)

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