China conducts nationwide inspection on food safety

18:38, October 26, 2010      

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China's food safety authorities have started a nationwide campaign to supervise local governments in tackling problems such as "gutter oil" and problematic milk powder.

The State Council's Food Safety Commission said in a statement issued Tuesday that local governments had made progress since they launched the campaign last year and a new inspection would assess whether their work was "effective."

The inspection aimed to evaluate the general situation of local government food safety work, food production monitoring systems, and investigations into and crackdowns on "gutter oil" and problematic milk powder, said the statement.

It said the campaign would reinforce local government efforts in rectifying the country's milk powder industry, which was scarred by a melamine-tainted milk scandal in 2008 that caused at least six infant deaths and sickened 300,000.

In July, the State Council, or Cabinet, ordered food safety authorities to eradicate "gutter oil," usually made from discarded kitchen waste that has been refined, after media reports that it was commonly used by small restaurants.

Also on the commission's agenda were the examination of the rectification and monitoring of community-level food safety issues and ensuring local governments dealt with consumer complaints.

Food safety became a nationwide concern in China after a spate of scandals involving contamination and illegal ingredients and additives.

China's national food safety commission was established in February 2009, in the wake of the 2008 melamine-tainted milk scandal that hammered the country's dairy industry.



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