Chinese lawmakers call for enhancing supervision of food safety

08:21, February 25, 2010      

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Chinese lawmakers Wednesday called for improving the country's food safety supervision network after a nationwide law enforcement inspection tour.

National lawmakers started the inspection tour last September after the Food Safety Law took effect last June.

Lu Yongxiang, vice chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, told lawmakers that many regions had not completed reform of the food safety supervision mechanism.

Most of the cities and counties had not started the reform yet, Lu said at a three-day bimonthly session of the top legislature that started Wednesday, when presenting a report of the inspection tour.

He called for stronger coordination led by health departments.

The report suggested establishing a national food safety risk assessment center and a food safety standard management system.

Earlier this month, the State Council set up a food safety commission consisting of three vice premiers and a dozen minister-level officials.

The lineup of the commission's members includes Vice Premiers Li Keqiang, Hui Liangyu and Wang Qishan, as well as more than ten heads or vice heads of government departments in charge of health, finance, and agriculture among other portfolios.

The establishment of the commission followed a string of nationwide crackdowns and arrests in the wake of new melamine-tainted milk products being found in Shanghai as well as Liaoning, Shandong and Shaanxi in recent months.

The melamine milk scandal occurred in 2008. Milk laced with melamine led to the deaths of six babies and sickened 300,000 others who had been fed with baby formula made from tainted milk.

Prof. Wang Yukai of the Chinese Academy of Governance, said food safety still remained a concern in the country to this day, due to inadequate coordination, poor law enforcement and government supervision.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang told the Cabinet's food safety commission on Feb. 9 that this year's campaign would focus on food additives, edible farm products, food production processing, circulation and import and export, livestock slaughter, as well as the catering and health supplements industries.

Source: Xinhua
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