China confident of Olympic food safety: quality watchdog

March 7th, 2008 - 7:12 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, March 7 (Xinhua) Head of China’s quality watchdog has assured participants and visitors to the Beijing Olympics in August that their food will be safe, and wish them “to have a good time here with a good appetite and happy sightseeing tours”. “The safety of Olympic food will be fully guaranteed,” said Li Changjiang, head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the National People’s Congress.

All the food for athletes, coaches and visitors to the Olympics will be produced by designated farming and processing businesses in line with international standards, and will undergo stringent tests by the government, Li told reporters after an NPC penal discussion.

An effective food safety-monitoring network has been in place for Olympic food production, he added.

Li also disclosed that in the ongoing ‘Good Luck Beijing’ test event of Olympic venues, the food safety system has been operating normally, with all the producers, processors and logistics departments under real time surveillance.

Chinese industries have come under the spotlight of domestic and foreign consumers with concerns about substandard products or tainted food over recent years, which sometimes led to international disputes in addition to poisoning or even deaths of people.

Food-related incidents, in particular, included vegetables with pesticide residue, fish contaminated with suspected carcinogens and eggs tainted with the industrial dyes.

To address food safety issues, the Chinese government launched a four-month nationwide campaign in late August last year to crack down on unlicensed food shops and suppliers and on sales of food products without quality and inspection certificates.

More than 1,480 people were arrested, involving 1,187 criminal investigations nationwide, the AQSIQ said in mid-January.

As a result, more than 93 percent of all tested vegetables are qualified in terms of pesticide residue, and 96 percent fishery products qualified, Li said Thursday. Many other staple food, such as wheat flour, are 100 percent qualified, he said.

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