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China orders food safety overhaul in nation's schools

(Xinhua)

16:49, April 16, 2012

BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhua) -- A food safety overhaul will be carried out in primary and secondary schools and kindergartens across China to screen for safety hazards, a move prompted by a recent string of food poisoning incidents in schools.

The nation's food safety watchdog, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), posted a statement on its official website on Monday announcing that the SFDA and the Ministry of Education have ordered their local agencies to examine school cafeterias in their respective jurisdictions.

The overhaul is meant to spot food safety irregularities, such as the hiring of unlicensed caterers, poor disinfection methods, the unscrupulous use of food additives or the illegal use of nitrite, among other hazards.

The SFDA statement said if any practices are found to be illegal or in violation of relevant regulations, violators will be subject to harsh punishments.

Three food poisoning accidents have occurred in schools in southwest China's Yunnan province since March, according to the statement.

In the most serious case, more than 300 children fell ill after eating lunch in a rural primary school in Zhenxiong county on April 9.

As of 5:00 p.m. Sunday, 10 students remained hospitalized.

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