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People's Daily Online>>China Society

An appetite for charity (2)

By  He Dan  (China Daily)

08:23, April 09, 2012

A supervisory team made up of parents, village committee members and teachers was also set up for each sponsored school to monitor its operation, said Li Chunxia, an official from Hefeng county's education bureau in Central China's Hubei province.

Currently, more than 4,000 students from 43 village schools in Hefeng enjoy a free school lunch thanks to the project, Li said on Sunday.

In October, the central government launched a project allocating 16 billion yuan annually to subsidize nutritious school lunches in 680 cities and counties.

However, some schools selected for the project in Guizhou province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region only provided packaged food, and food hygiene problems were reported.

The People's Daily reported in late March that about 86 pupils were treated in hospitals in Zhijin county, Guizhou, after they had eaten a subsidized packaged meal.

Deng said some schools in poor regions were reluctant to provide freshly cooked meals because they could not afford to run a canteen or hire cooks, and it was easier to shift the responsibility for food safety on to packaged-food providers.

In the worst scenario, some corrupt school officials may think about receiving bribes from food companies to win orders, Deng said.

"All schools we sponsor are required to buy vegetables and fresh food from local villages or markets to shorten their transportation route and cut potential food safety hazards," he said.

Also, school principals, teachers and kitchen staff have to eat the same food as the students to guarantee they take food safety seriously.

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