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China's PLA to march on better fed stomachs
Updated: 2009-06-05 10:45

BEIJING -- Soldiers in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) are going on a healthy diet regime with more poultry and seafood, the PLA's general logistics department announced Thursday.

China's PLA to march on better fed stomachs
In this October 1, 2005 file photo, Chinese honour guards parade during a morning flag raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. [Xinhua]

The improved military diet, to be adopted from July 1, will add dairy products and fruit rations to the Formula I, the PLA's most basic daily menu for enlisted personnel and commissioned officers.

The proportion of animal protein, more digestible for the human body than vegetable protein, among the total protein in the Formula I will be raised from 26 percent to 41 percent.

Formula II, designed for soldiers in armored forces and plateau areas, the daily animal product intake will be increased to 550 grams. And in Formula III, designed for servicemen in surface vessels and trainee pilots, daily animal food product will be increased to 680 grams.

The statement said proportions of poultry and low-fat, high-protein seafood would also be raised in Formulas II and III.

For the highest level Formula IV, for submarine crews and aviators, no improvement has been revealed.

The statement did not specify the cost of the new dietary specifications in China's annual military budget, nor did it say if the budget would be raised accordingly.

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Since the beginning of 2007, China raised the PLA's daily food allowance. Formula I costs 11 yuan (US$1.62) per person, Formula II 13 yuan, Formula III 23 yuan and Formula IV 39 yuan.

The military mess squads can make a range of meals according to the budgets and local food supplies. It is estimated that the PLA's food spending totals 1 billion yuan each year.

China said its national defense budget in 2009 was about 480.7 billion yuan, a 14.9 percent increase over last year. China's top legislature has promised that the increase of 62.5 billion will mainly be spent in improving living standards.

The total force of the PLA has remained around 2.3 million since its most recent troop reduction finished in 2005.