China, US to discuss food safety

Updated: 2007-07-18 16:15

China and the United States will hold a meeting in Beijing to discuss the detention of four kinds of China's seafood exports by the US and the setting up of a collaboration mechanism on food safety, a senior Chinese quality control official said on Wednesday.

The five-day consultation between Chinese food safety authorities and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States is scheduled to start on July 31, said Li Yuanping, an official in charge of the safety of import and export products at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

Li also said that the recent suspension of sale of chicken feet, pig ears and other animal products from seven US companies was conducted according to a memorandum of understanding signed between the administration and the US Department of Agriculture.

The meat was contaminated with salmonella, additives and veterinary drugs, according to the administration.

In response to criticism from overseas, he said that China was not counteracting overseas complaints by picking holes in imports into the country.

It's not the first time China has suspended meat imports from the US -- the administration suspended contaminated meat imports from 15 US companies in 2006, Li said.

Meat imports from 13 of those companies have resumed, according to Li.

The FDA, under the US Department of Health and Human Services, said on June 28 it would detain three types of Chinese farm-raised fish -- catfish, basa and dace -- as well as shrimp and eel unless suppliers could prove the shipments contained no harmful residues unapproved in the U.S. for use in farmed seafood.

Li Changjiang, the top quality control official with AQSIQ, urged the US to "properly deal with the problem as soon as possible" during a telephone conversation with US Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, adding that an "indiscriminate" ban of all exports of such Chinese aquatic products was "unacceptable".

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