Foreign media rapped over food reports

By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-16 06:58

Two senior quality control officials have lashed out at a section of the foreign media for inciting fears over the safety of Chinese products.

"Some foreign media, especially those based in the US, have wantonly reported on so called unsafe Chinese products. They are turning white to black," Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Li Changjiang said during inspection of some food enterprises in Beijing yesterday.

This is the first time the administration has used such strong words against foreign media reports on China's food safety.

Substandard Chinese products came into international spotlight early this year after additives exported from China allegedly contaminated some pet food in North America.

A few foreign media reported that some toothpaste, seafood, toys and even tires made in China were not safe, fanning global passions against Chinese products in general.

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Li conceded that there were problems with certain domestic companies, but said: "One company's problem doesn't make it a country's problem. If some food products are below standard, you can't say all the country's food is unsafe."

He cited records to show that more than 99 percent of Chinese food exports to the US in the past three years had met quality standards, about the same, or even higher, than the equivalent figure for US food exports to China.

During another inspection in neighboring Tianjin Municipality, the administration's Party Secretary Li Chuanqing, too, criticized the foreign media for arousing unnecessary fears.

He said some foreign companies were behind the move to exaggerate the fear of substandard Chinese products. This is taking recourse to unfair competition.

Both the officials said the ongoing inspections showed that Chinese products were safe. The companies they visited included the Huiyuan Beverage and Food Group Company, Liubiju Food Company and the Tianjin Lantian Group Company.

The latest national survey shows that about 30 percent of the country's 500,000 food-processing units are medium- or large-scale companies, 10 percent more than the previous figure, Li Changjiang said. And their products account for more than 90 percent of the market share.

(China Daily 07/16/2007 page1)

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