The Chinese government has announced plans to consolidate and improve conflicting food safety regulations over the next five years.

China's food industry has struggled with an abundance of often overlapping standards: there are more than 2,000 national and 2,900 industry-based food regulations, said the ministry of health's notice on a ‘national standard for food safety', which will form part of the country's 12th five-year plan.

Officials will propose changing standards for testing food contaminants, micro-organisms, and pesticide residue as well as guidelines for food packaging, the notice said.

Reforms will focus on safety standards for dairy products, meat, alcohol, vegetable oil, seasoning, health products, food additives and infant food safety.

The China State Council approved the plan on Friday (15 June), issuing a communiqué later noting food safety had become "a nationwide concern in China".

This follows food safety incidents such as this month's "scandal [which] involved an ‘unusual amount' of mercury found in baby formula produced by Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., one of China's biggest dairy companies," said the state council note.