A quality control system to ensure safe food for Olympic athletes has been
established and is ready for use at next year's Games.
A database detailing when and where all Olympic foodstuffs were reared or
grown, picked, processed, transported and distributed has now been set up, the
city's food safety watchdog said yesterday.
"For instance, immunization shots and other medicines given to cattle and
poultry, as well as pesticides used on vegetables will be included in an
electronic record for future reference," Tang Wenhua, an official with the food
safety office affiliated to the Beijing municipal government, said.
"The tracking system allows us to quickly identify the origin of all foods
and the processes they have gone through in the event of a problem or
emergency," Tang said.
The monitoring and tracing system also aims to apportion accountability at
each step along the production chain in a bid to spur those involved to ensure
food safety, she said.
Currently, the system includes five vegetable and fruit growing bases, 41
food processing and logistics distributors and 10 supermarkets.
During the Games, athletes' ID cards will also carry details of their eating
habits and these will be scanned each time they enter a canteen, Tang said.
The upcoming "Good Luck, Beijing", a small-scale version of the main event to
be held on August 8, will witness the first use of the new technology.
City authorities have also been working with the French biotechnology company
bioMerieux on a system for testing and tracing sources of food contamination.
In addition, Zhang Zhikuan, director of the Beijing municipal industrial and
commercial bureau and food safety office chief said the city has been developing
a database to monitor food production, supervise quality procedures and measure
the credibility of suppliers.
Some 345 varieties of food in 10 categories are currently being monitored by
the new system, according to the food safety office. Any enterprise found to be
producing substandard products is given a bad credit record.
"Endorsed by 34 departments including the industry and commerce
administration, quality supervision, healthcare and agricultural authorities and
banking institutes, the credibility database has been a boon for the food
industry," Tang said.
Since 2005, Beijing officials' performance on food safety issues has been
part of their annual evaluations.
The proposed amendment to the food safety regulation, currently under review
by the municipal legislature, is expected to be made by the end of the year.
(China Daily 07/11/2007 page4)