The capital is able to guarantee food safety for athletes and audiences during the Olympics, a city official said on Thursday.
"Beijing has established a comprehensive food safety control mechanism that covers the whole process, from production to the table, to make sure Olympics food is entirely safe," Ma Lin, director of the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission, told a press conference.
Ma said the city has established 25 local food safety standards since 2002 and has chosen nine farms in greater Beijing as designated sources of major food products, such as meat and vegetables, for the Games.
Olympic food produced in other cities and provinces is inspected under the same strict standards, he said.
A food tracing system is also in place for the transfer of food products destined for the Olympics, according to Ma.
The system involves bar codes as 'identity cards' for vegetables and livestock, according to earlier reports. The bar codes could enable food safety authorities and the public to get information about the production area and date, producer, brand and source of seeds by scanning bar codes in a supermarket or via phones, the Internet and text messages.
"We had a trial of the food produce tracing system in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Shanghai. It was a success," Ma said.
In addition, China published its new draft food safety law, which lays out penalties from fines to life in prison for makers of substandard food, for public comment as its latest initiative to ensure food safety.
According to the draft, producers of substandard food products would face fines, the confiscation of their incomes and revocation of production certificates. In serious cases, they could face prison terms ranging from three years to life.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2008)