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Efforts to implement food safety law
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China says different government departments will make joint efforts to implement the newly-approved food safety law, as the country vows to strengthen its food safety controls. The message was released during Monday's press conference, which featured senior officials from all relevant departments.

Food safety is in the spotlight in China, especially after a spate of food scandals which sparked strong calls for an overhaul of China's current monitoring system.

During Monday's press conference held by the State Council's Information Office, Vice Health Minister Chen Xiaohong said the newly-approved food safety law calls for joint efforts from relevant departments.

According to the law, the departments of health, agriculture, quality supervision, industry and commerce will each shoulder different responsibilities.

Chen Xiaohong, Vice Minister of Ministry of Health, said, "The Ministry of Health's part includes building a mechanism to evaluate risk and implement the safety standards. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will establish a food safety warning system. The Ministry of Agriculture will guarantee the quality of farm products. In addition, the Industry and Commerce Administration, as well as the quality watchdog officials, will further step up the supervision of food safety."

Before its approval last week, the draft version was revised several times since first being submitted to the NPC Standing Committee in December 2007.

That's when lawmakers thought 1995's "food hygiene law" was too outdated to meet current needs.

Chen Xiaohong said the newly-approved law will help strengthen food safety controls all the way from the production line to the dinner table.

Chen also noted, "The food safety law provides a legal basis for the government to strengthen food safety controls, especially when supervising food producers. Another focus of the law will establish a supervision and monitoring system for the entire food production process. The law also contains advanced management measures from around the world. It stipulates relevant departments should build up risk evaluation mechanisms and improve food safety standards."

Chen Xiaohong said that with the implementation of the food safety law, all relevant departments are confident they can restore faith in the country's food supply.

The new law was approved on Saturday, during a four-day session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

It will go into effect on June 1st.

 (CCTV March 2, 2009)

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