The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that international health experts will be meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing next month to discuss food safety measures.


Although food safety issues related to China have been in the spotlight recently, the WHO said the talks, to be held between 12 and 13 September, had been planned for a year.


“I’m happy to note that there will be an upcoming meeting in Beijing on food safety issues in September,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “The government of China is committed to improving their system.”


Chan added that Chinese officials had approached the WHO, which has been helping the country to streamline its food regulations. Chan said the WHO was examining ways it could “strengthen and fast-track that process”.


Meanwhile, the US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez said earlier this week that the US will take the opportunity of the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, to be held in Sydney from 7 September to 9 September, to put pressure on China to do more to ensure the safety of its exported goods.


“I can assure you it will be on the agenda,” Gutierrez said in a call with the President’s Export Council, an advisory group of industry officials and politicians.


Concern has been mounting in the US for some time over the safety of food imported from China, following a number of high-profile contamination scares.