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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Food safety campaign slashes dairy numbers

By Zhou Wenting (China Daily)

08:24, January 06, 2012

BEIJING - The "tough battle" to clean up the food sector saw the closure of more than 40 percent of the mainland's dairies, Zhi Shuping, head of the country's top quality watchdog, said on Thursday.

"Food regulation supervisors looked into all the 1,176 dairy product manufacturers last year," Zhi, minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said at the 2012 national work conference on quality supervision.

"The licenses of 426 were revoked and another 107 were required to carry out improvements within a fixed period of time."

The number of cases transferred to the police doubled from the previous year, he said. "We fought a tough battle to rectify the dairy industry."

Wang Dingmian, chairman of the Guangzhou Dairy Association, said that there were nearly 2,000 domestic dairies in 2008 when the melamine-contaminated baby formula scandal exploded.

"It is really a good job that the authorities have closed unqualified dairies," Wang said.

Comprehensive checks have been carried out since last year on dairies and their products and supervision has been increased, Zhi said.

Tianjin introduced a pioneer procedure in 2011 where tests for melamine and other harmful substances were carried out by a municipal inspection agency. Raw milk also underwent extreme testing.

"This prevented at least 8 tons of suspicious raw milk from going to manufacturers," said Hou Binsheng, an official in charge of supervising food production in the city.

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