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Beijing Checks Hotels and Restaurants for Food Safety
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Beijing's health authorities have launched food security inspections in hotels and restaurants amid preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games.

The Beijing Health Bureau has defined four safety grades for more than 30,000 hotels and restaurants that will be inspected in the city. Establishments that only make the bottom two grades will be urged to carry out improvements, according to Jin Dapeng, director of the bureau.

"The purpose of the inspections is to ensure safe and comfortable dining for everyone in Beijing," Jin said.

Beijing has set up a food safety committee involving 16 government departments and an expert panel for the 2008 Olympics.

"Food security efforts for the 2008 Olympic Games are in full swing," said Zhang Zhikuan, director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau for Industry and Commerce.

The city has also established a food safety monitoring system in both Chinese and English, which will track food processing and transportation for the Olympic Games.

Early this week, Beijing publicized the alerts and actions it will take in the event of an outbreak of illness caused by contaminated food.

When a food emergency occurs, the city will immediately set up teams to handle medical treatment, testing and assessment, news briefings and investigations, according to the emergency plan.

The city said that 753 people were affected by 68 food poisoning incidents last year.

(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2007)

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