Senior official defends China’s agriculture’s ‘safety guarantee’

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

China's rice imports are no more than a drop in the paddy compared to overall consumption
China's rice imports are no more than a drop in the paddy compared to overall consumption

Related tags: Agriculture, Food

China's agricultural products are generally safe and reliable, China’s chief agricultural economist has stated.

"The government attaches great importance to food safety and people's food consumption has a safety guarantee​," said Bi Meijia of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Bi was responding to a recent Reuters report on the rising demand by China’s consumers for supposedly safer Japanese rice imports. The news wire claimed the rice was the latest addition on China’s list of "everyday foods they bring in from abroad at luxury-good prices​."

The report went on to say that China imported 160 tonnes of Japanese rice last year—three times the figure in 2013—illustrating "Chinese consumers' dwindling confidence in the safety of the country's own agricultural produce​”.

Bi said it was “unsound both in terms of fact and logic​” to assess overall consumer confidence in domestic agriculture based on this one statistic.

With much more strict testing criteria, over 96% of major Chinese agricultural products passed quality tests in 2014, a proof of stable and improving quality, Bi added.

China imported 2.58m tonnes of rice in 2014, accounting for just 1.2% of its total rice consumption, he stated, with Japanese rice imports being negligible.

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