US dismisses food safety qualms

Updated: 2008-02-25 07:17

US Olympic Committee (USOC) officials have full confidence in the food being supplied for the Beijing Olympics and will have their athletes follow the same meal plan they've used for the past two Games.

"We have absolutely no concerns about the quality and safety of the food that will be served in the village," committee spokesman Darryl Seibel said.

"The food in the village will be outstanding, and that will be the primary dining venue for our athletes, as it is at every Games."

That means the majority of meals will be eaten at the Olympic athletes' village, where food is provided by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, which has a contract with Philadelphia-based food-service provider Aramark.

The USOC will ship in some food for meals for its high-performance center at Beijing Normal University, but will also source some food from local suppliers.

Seibel said the majority of meals served at the university will go to support personnel who don't have access to the athletes' village.

Miliband speaks out

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Saturday also reiterated his opposition to a boycott of the Beijing Games.

"I do not support an Olympic boycott. I do support engagement with China on the need to work together internationally to nurture the potential gains of globalization," Miliband said before a six-day visit to China.

"China depends on that cooperation; so do we," Miliband wrote. Beijing will host the 29th Summer Olympics in August.

Miliband's visit to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing began yesterday.

"My aims are simple: to try to understand the country better, to compare notes on the challenges of equality, security and sustainability in our two countries, and to forge relationships that foster Anglo-Chinese cooperation at an international level in the pursuit of shared goals," he said.

The British foreign secretary already made clear his position last week.

"Everything we have seen and read suggests that preparations are proceeding in an excellent way. We very much look forward to a very successful Olympics - successful for China and successful for the world," Miliband told Chinese reporters in London on Wednesday.

Miliband's comments echoed the attitude of many athletes who are refusing to boycott the Olympics.

"Athletes have one chance every four years to compete at the Olympics and they should be allowed to do that," Former Olympic champion Linford Christie, who won gold in the 100 m event at the 1992 Barcelona Games, said.

Christie criticized those calling for a boycott of the Beijing Games as "very hypocritical", saying they "condemn China but all use Chinese electrical goods".

Meanwhile, According to the Guardian/ICM poll published on Friday, 72 percent of those surveyed agreed the British team should attend the Games in Beijing.

The ICM polled a random sample of 1,003 adults aged over 18 from around Britain.

Xinhua-Agencies

(China Daily 02/25/2008 page2)