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April 14, 2005

CHINA: Food safety “top priority” for Shanghai

Food safety will be made the "top priority" of Shanghai local government's market supervisors, Shanghai municipal government spokeswoman Jiao Yang said on Wednesday, according to the China Daily newspaper.

Food safety will be made the “top priority” of Shanghai local government’s market supervisors, Shanghai municipal government spokesperson Jiao Yang said on Wednesday, according to the China Daily newspaper.

The municipal government will exercise tight scrutiny over the contamination of farm products, crack down on unlicensed food producers, and push forward with a quality safety examination on 28 main categories of food, said Jiao, who unveiled the local government’s market-supervision plan for this year at a press conference yesterday.

“As the Chinese saying goes, ‘food is heaven for the masses,’ so the government must make sure its power is correctly used (to guarantee food safety),” she said.

Food safety is now a top concern of central and local governments wary of food-related incidents that can claim lives and cause panic, the paper said.

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

Shanghai enjoyed a record of zero major food poisoning cases last year, according to Jiao.

But small cases sometimes occur. Last month, the 19-month-old baby girl of a Taiwan investor in Shanghai choked to death while eating jelly.

The Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress, the city’s lawmaking body, has also decided to give priority to food safety, especially the safety of meat in malls and supermarkets.

The decision came after recent inspections found many grocery stores and restaurants could not provide meat quarantine certificates or health certificates for chefs.

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