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15% of Chinese made ill by food each year

By Cai Wenjun (Shanghai Daily)

08:27, April 16, 2012

Around one in six Chinese are made ill by the food they eat each year, experts told a food safety conference over the weekend.

This figure includes illness caused by eating food contaminated by bacteria or parasites and food containing tainted ingredients, harmful additives or natural toxins.

Some 15.3 percent of the population are afflicted by such foodborne illnesses annually, delegates at the Beijing conference heard.

In 2010, China established a supervision network that undertakes food risk evaluation and food poisoning outbreak prevention and control.

More than 400 hospitals are required to monitor illness caused by food, according to the Ministry of Health.

In 1987-88, a hepatitis A outbreak in Shanghai - passed through aquatic produce - resulted in 31 deaths and affected 300,000 people.

In 2008, melamine-contaminated formula milk killed at least 6 infants and left 300,000 ill in China.

Chen Junshi, a food safety expert and an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the conference that food safety education guidelines will be published in June.

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