Food safety tops the menu

By Xie Chuanjiao/Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-28 07:48

Some farmers reportedly fed the fish large quantities of medicinal supplements, which leave cancer-causing residue, to increase their resistance to disease.

Regarding the red-yolked eggs, the Ministry of Agriculture said yesterday that seven poultry farms in Hebei and one in Zhejiang were found to have used Sudan red dye out of 5,598 farms inspected.

But a check of 2,430 poultry feed factories found that none had produced any Sudan red-dyed products.

A total of 10,400 ducks as well as 2,025 kilograms of duck eggs were destroyed during the inspection and 800 kilograms of poultry feed were quarantined for further inspection.

In East China's Shandong Province, where 70 per cent of the country turbots are raised, the poisonous fish were traced to three companies.

Zhang Yuxiang, Ministry of Agriculture spokeswoman, said food producers are encouraged to seek co-operation with fixed buyer markets to ensure a more mature market access scheme.

Also, the ministry said it would broaden the scope of its inspection to include more additives, as well as increase inspection frequency.

"Any problem detected during the inspection will be soon traced to its source," Zhang said. "Related bureaux will make timely efforts to minimize the negative influence."

In another development, the Ministry of Commerce said it was drafting new rules for food product distribution and would issue them soon.

Wholesalers and retail food markets would be required to sign agreements with vendors defining their food quality responsibilities, and markets would be encouraged to establish links with suppliers.

New rules will also include more detailed trading information and a more effective system to remove tainted food from the market.

Law revision urged

Experts have called for an urgent update of the food safety law.

"The food safety legal system begun in 1995 can't keep up with the latest developments in food safety," Zhang Yongjian, executive director of the Food and Drug Industrial Development and Supervision Research Centre under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told China Daily.

"The current law leaves loopholes for illegal food producers, decreases and delays law enforceability."

He stressed the need for stronger enforcement of the current and future food safety laws.


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