BEIJING - Chinese farm products are getting safer, the
government said on Tuesday, citing tests of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish in
major cities that showed more than 95 percent of products were up to standard.
The Ministry of Agriculture, eager to reassure consumers following a series
of safety scandals, said on its Web site (www.agri.gov.cn) that all meat and
poultry products tested in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin and Kunming were
up to scratch.
A vendor counts notes at a market in Beijing June 19, 2007.
Chinese farm products are getting safer, the government said on Tuesday,
citing tests of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish in major cities that
showed more than 95 percent of products were up to standard.
"The proportion of vegetables tested which were up to standard when it came
to farm chemical residues in 37 cities was the highest in recent years," it said
in a statement.
"The general quality of agricultural products in our country keeps getting
higher," it added.
But there were still a few problems. Malachite green, a cancer-causing
chemical used by fish farmers to kill parasites, was found in some samples, as
were nitrofurans, an antibiotic also linked to cancer, the ministry said.
The ministry this year will strengthen quality and safety controls over farm
products and push for standardisation in the farm sector, it added.
Fresh scandals involving substandard food and medicines are reported by
Chinese media almost every day, and the issue has burst into the international
spotlight since tainted additives exported from China contaminated pet food in
"At present, food safety problems have received the world's attention," Wei
Chuanzhong, deputy head of China's quality inspection bureau, was quoted as
saying on its Web site (www.aqsiq.gov.cn).
"We pay the highest level of attention to food safety," he said during a
visit to inspection facilities in Shanghai.
The scandals keep occurring, however.
State media said that health authorities had seized more than two tonnes of
expired sticky rice dumplings, a special treat for the annual Dragon Boat
Festival, which falls on Tuesday.
A company in central Anhui province had repackaged the dumplings, made two
years ago, and sold them as new, Xinhua news agency said.
"Some of the rice inside was rotting and giving off a bad smell," Xinhua
Last year, some manufacturers were found to have used copper-based chemicals
to preserve the green colour of leaves used to wrap dumplings, with the worst
cases containing 34 times more copper than allowed by national safety standards.
Public fears about food safety grew in China in 2004 when at least 13 babies
died of malnutrition in Anhui after they were fed fake milk powder with no