An abundance of safety issues related to food products materialised this year, and a picture of China being a country beset by problems with its quality controls has now emerged. However, as China and the West both desire to keep the export-import trade alive, a global media spotlight is now focused on China's food safety standards. Increasing number of Chinese pigs pose risk to human health Meat processors in China once again face further food security issues, as a new report suggests that greater meat consumption means more pigs for slaughter, which bring with them a greater chance of diseases spreading. The report "The challenges presented by rapid industrialisation of livestock production", published yesterday at the European Conference of Biotechnology in Barcelona, found that the Chinese population is increasingly choosing meat rather than fish, and individual consumption is expected to reach 73 kilos per year by 2020. "This increase in meat consumption means that the impact on the Chinese population will double if the rapid growth continues," the report said. The Chinese farming industry is currently increasing the number, intensity and scale or its pig units, which doubles the risk of disease transmission, as well as environmental problems such as methane damage. Chinese products banned from schools in the Philippines The Philippines department of education (DepEd) yesterday ordered a ban on the sale of illegal Chinese food products, a government report said yesterday. According to the Memorandum Order No. 314, more than 50,000 schools across the nation were selling biscuits and candies that contain formaldehyde, a carcinogenic substance currently banned by the government. The DepEd said that all schools must stop serving White Rabbit Creamy Candy, Milk Candy, Bairon grape biscuits and Yongkang Foods grape biscuits. Malaysia keeps close eye on imports Several Chinese exporters have been placed on a Malaysian "watch list" after 18 food shipments tested positive for high levels of preservatives and pesticides, the International Herald Tribune reported yesterday. The shipments included crates of preserved fruits, seaweed, lychees, honey and salted vegetables, the newspaper said.Abdul Rahim Mohamad, director of Food Safety and Quality Control at the Malaysian health ministry, told the paper that, "food coming to this country must be safe", and that the number of substandard shipments has increased slightly since last year. China bans Canadian pork In what may seem a reversal of fortunes, the government this week banned imports of pork products from Maple Leaf Foods because of the presence of the feed additive ractopamine, an adrenal stimulant used used to increase lean meat in swine. The exports of pork kidneys and chops have now been returned, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). However, some food industry players in Canada feel that the Chinese government is merely playing tit-for-tat, after North America demanded that China develop stringent safety measures earlier this year. "It's interesting that they've been importing pork from the U.S. since 2000, yet this only began to be an issue this past summer," Martin Rice, executive director for the Canadian Pork Council, told the Canadian Press. "It's been two years since Canada has been using it, and therefore two years that we've had product going to China," he said. Ractopamine was approved for use in Canada in 2006, but is banned in both China and the EU. It is legal as an ingredient in edible meat in 24 countries around the world, including the US and Brazil. Grocery tracking will improve product quality, says minister As China attempts to improve its safety record, a new system of tracking food products will be set in place later this year, the director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) told ChinaDaily.com. Manufacturers will have to attach invoices and documents to goods, as well as keep business records, Zhou Bohua said."This is a special battle to protect people's health and basic interests, and safeguard the credibility and image of Chinese products," Zhou said. The new system will also allow inspectors to trace the origin of food products, the newspaper said.