The National People's Congress (NPC) held a forum on Wednesday
to discuss food safety and specifically how to overcome obstacles
in revising the Food Hygiene Law.
NPC deputies and officials from various departments attended the
forum to discuss the establishment of a food safety supervision
system, a food safety risk evaluation system, a set of food safety
standards and a food safety-related information publication
Food safety is a much-discussed topic in China. Substandard and
even poisonous food is regularly spotted in food markets.
China's food safety watchdog announced in November 2006 that it
had nabbed seven companies that were producing salted red-yolk eggs
contaminated with dangerous red Sudan dyes.
Sudan dyes are used legally in the leather and fabric
industries, but are banned for food use.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that in the fourth
quarter of 2005 alone, China reported 54 serious food poisoning
cases, with 1,897 people becoming sick and 39 killed. Toxic zoic
and vegetal food -- such as poisonous fungus, globefish, and kidney
beans -- caused the most mischief.
Since 2003, the Tenth NPC has received more than 3,000 motions
and suggestions from NPC deputies about how to strengthen food
In response, the NPC has put amendments to the Food Hygiene Law
onto this year's legislative agenda.
The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council and the
Education, Science, Culture and Health Committee of the NPC have
carried out field studies and held several symposiums to work out
amendments to the law.
China promulgated a Food Hygiene Law in 1995. More detailed
provisions are likely to be added this year to strengthen
supervision of the production and circulation of food, and prevent
substandard food from entering the market.
(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2007)