Nearly a fifth of goods Chinese quality inspectors checked in the first half
of this year were below standard, the government revealed on Wednesday.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine
said in its report that 80.9 percent of 7,200 products inspected passed scrutiny
and that overall quality was improving.
But that left 19.1 percent of the tested goods laced with toxins or too many
additives, without safety protections or lacking required label information,
according to the report issued on the government website (www.gov.cn).
Among smaller manufacturers, the failure rate was 27.1 percent.
The report said the checks did not cover exports.
Chinese leaders has demanded stricter food and medicine standards after a
series of trade disputes over the quality of exports.
"When serious quality problems are found, they will be strictly punished
according to the law so that product quality is protected from the source," the
Administration report said.
Problem goods included jelly snacks, drinks, canned fruit, water dispensers
and dried fish, with many foods containing high levels of bacteria or additives.
One fifth of fruit drinks failed inspection.
Fertilizers, pesticides and other farming products also had an overall
failure rate of 19.5 percent.
Last week 180 domestic food manufacturers were shut down over the
previous six months for making substandard products or using inedible materials.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last week it would not allow
imports of Chinese farm-raised seafood unless suppliers could prove the
shipments held no harmful residues.
Beijing has criticized such moves as over-reacting to isolated problems, and
on Tuesday the foreign ministry said international media reports had exaggerated
China's quality problems.
"Media alarmism has created panic," ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news
conference. "The problem products that have been reported on are, I think, after
all, a tiny minority."