Law mulled to ensure safety of farm products
Updated: 2005-10-23 11:14
China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's
Congress (NPC), deliberates on the draft law on quality safety of agricultural
produce for the first time during a six-day session commencing here Saturday.
Quality safety of agricultural products is closely related to public health,
safety and the growth of agriculture and rural economy in China, says Minister
of Agriculture Du Qinglin, when explaining the draft to the NPC Standing
Xu Xiaojun, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA),said, of the
total 381 major food-poisoning incidents reported by Ministry of Health in 2004,
140 were caused by poisonous animals and plants. The absence of law caused great
difficulties in preventing these incidents from happening again.
Du said quite a number of policies and measures have been taken in recent
years to ensure safety of farm products, including building better bases of
agricultural products and improving daily food provisions for the public.
The law on quality safety of agricultural products is to provide the legal
status to these policies and measures that have proved to be very effective,
Xu said China's agriculture had gone from quantity-oriented to
quality-oriented since the State Council's decision to develop productive
agriculture in 1992. According to a 2004 MOA survey done in 37 Chinese cities,
97.5 percent of the vegetables in the market reached CAC international standards
in terms of pesticide remnant.
However, the quality safety of agricultural produce have undergone a
bottleneck phase over recent years, manifested in the reversal of safety
indicators and occasional food-poisoning emergencies.
The legal absence of agricultural products may account for the inability of
quality and safety supervision, said Xu, thus the law is called for.
Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that China's agricultural
produce encountered export technical trade barrier in recent years, with 90
percent of agricultural and food exporting companies being affected. Their total
loss amounted to approximately 9 billion US dollars every year.
Xu noted that some countries set these technical trade barriers, taking
advantage of China's legal gap in this aspect.
The draft law comprises five parts including, among others, defining the
scope of agriculture products adjustment, establishing a quality security set-up
and improving the quality safety supervision system for agriculture produce,
according to Du.