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New licensing rules cover more food products
By Ling Hu (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-27 23:14

More food producers are falling in line with licensing requirements, the country's top legislative body heard Monday.

Food production licenses are becoming more prevalent. The country's food administration has licensed 25,716 domestic producers of rice, flour, oil, bean sauce and vinegar, extending the mandatory quality safety verification system to 95 per cent of producers, a senior official said Monday.

At the same time, spotchecks on 10 per cent of these licensed producers this year showed 91.4 per ent of their products are up to standard.

That's a big jump from the 59.9-per-cent acceptance rate in 2001, said Zhang Zhigang, general director of the State Council's leading group for market order.

The group, headed by Vice-Premier Wu Yi, is charged with eliminating market irregularities.

Zhang reported the figures to an ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

"Food safety has been a focal point of the supervisory job, as it affects the public's health," said Zhang.

The State Council launched a special scheme to improve food regulations in April, after a shoddy milk powder scandal in Anhui Province which killed 13 babies and sparked concern nationwide over food safety.

The quality safety system was introduced this year on major food products but plans will expand it to all food products within three years.

The government has also made continued efforts this year to fight illegal blood deals, piracy of intellectual property rights and production of fake products, Zhang said.

The government's efforts to curb HIV/AIDS by banning underground blood deals in favour of voluntary donations are paying off, he said, noting that 88 per cent of the blood for clinical use now comes from voluntary donations, compared to 22 per cent in 1998.

The central province of Henan was the first province where all clinical blood come from donations.

Legislative progress in the past three years has provided a "strong legal guarantee" for government supervision, said Zhang.

The NPC Standing Committee passed a law on safety of production in 2002 and a law on road traffic safety last year aimed at cutting the number of accidents.

A host of other statutes and government decrees have been made or revised since 2001 regarding to various aspects of market regulation, such as import-export inspection and quarantine, customs protection of IPR, and control of dangerous chemicals.

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