Health officials uncovered more than 40,000 violations of
hygiene and license regulations in China's catering sector from
January to October, according to the Ministry of Health.
"Health departments at all levels inspected more than 920,000
catering units and fined violators 23 million yuan (three million
US dollars)," the ministry reported in a teleconference on catering
safety on Friday.
Last year, health departments uncovered more than 110,000
violations, revoking 1,444 food hygiene licenses and cracking down
on almost 30,000 unlicensed businesses, according to ministry
"The number of food poisoning cases and the incidence of
infectious diseases of the intestinal tract had declined compared
with the same period of last year," it said.
Only 73 percent of the country's restaurants and other catering
units routinely checked suppliers' hygiene certificates when buying
raw materials, it said.
Ninety-five percent of China's catering establishments would
have a certified hygiene grade in accordance with their basic
hygiene facilities by the end of the year as part of a nationwide
effort to improve food safety, said Vice Health Minister Chen
Xiaohong last month.
Health departments would strengthen supervision of restaurants
with low grades and advise the public against eating in such
restaurants, Chen said.
The ministry launched a nationwide campaign on food safety in
the catering sector in September to run till the end of the year,
in order to regulate catering business and reduce the number of
food poisoning accidents and illnesses.
The inspection targets school dining halls, canteens at
construction sites, small restaurants and those situated in rural
areas or city suburbs.
Those that are found to have purchased or used substandard food
products would be subject to severe penalties, the ministry
(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2007)