China needs to establish a more consistent food safety system to prevent future safety scares, the Unitied Nations has said.

China has been dogged by product safety scares in recent years, the latest of which left four children dead and thousands hospitalised after consuming milk formula contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine. It was later discovered that melamine-tainted milk had been used in a series of food and drink products, which were pulled from the shelves worldwide.

The melamine scandal has prompted Beijing to undertake a comprehensive overhaul of food safety legislation.

In a report published today (22 October), the UN said that this overhaul should address structural issues - including the establishment of unified laws, a single safety watchdog and faster sharing of information.

"We have identified a number of structural issues that should be addressed to ensure product safety," a spokesperson for the UN told just-food. "The Chinese authorities are determined to increase food security."