China defends its food safety to WHO

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, Food

China has defended its food safety standards in a notice sent to
the World Health Organisation (WHO), while another food safety
official has been sent to prison for bribery charges.

Recently a series of health scares and contamination problems with exported goods have led to widespread concerns about the safety of Chinese food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, prompting officials to assure the world about the safety of country's products. The notice, sent last week, but yesterday posted on the Ministry of Health's website yesterday, said China was willing to cooperate globally to meet the challenges. "The Chinese government is willing to increase information exchange and communication with international society and other countries in line with its attitude of openness and transparency,"​ it said. Actions and laws China so far adopted to tackle food safety were detailed in the notice, as well as an explanation of the roles watchdogs play in overseeing the industry. This month China announced that samples from every food shipment to the US and other countries will be tested for safety under new requirements by officials from 1 September. Meanwhile, Zheng Shangjin, the former head of the food and drug bureau in Zhejiang province was sentenced to four years in prison for taking bribes and abuse of power, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday. The sentence follows the execution last month of Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of the national State Food and Drug Administration, for accepting bribes to approve substandard medicines. Last month also, the Chinese food regulator, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, announced that half of small processors would close amid fears that smaller unregulated operations accounted for many of the food safety problems. Furthermore, in July, Chinese officials announced a raft of changes had been made to 1,817 national standards for edible agricultural products and processed foods, while 208 have been abolished. The food industry has set a further 2,588 standards, 6,949 have been established by local governments, while amendments have been made to about 140,000 enterprise standards

Related topics: Policy, Food safety, East Asia, China

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