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Chemical Plants Under Scrutiny

Chemical plants will soon be subject to a nationwide inspection to stamp out illegal drug manufacturing, Vice Premier Wu Yi said on Friday.

"The inspection is aimed at ensuring drug safety, as there are many plants using chemicals to make pharmaceuticals," Wu said.

"Drugs made from chemicals are very harmful and we have to ensure that only qualified pharmaceutical firms manufacture medicine," she said.

Addressing the third general meeting of a four-month safety campaign, Wu also said a draft law on food safety to raise standards and regulate supervision had been submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC) for approval.

"The draft law is part of efforts to set up a long-term system to ensure food safety and consolidate the achievements of the national campaign against poor products," she said.

Wu said several central government departments, including the Ministry of Agriculture and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, will also issue regulations to ensure food safety and product quality.

According to the NPC Central Committee work plan, the food safety draft law will be ready for its first reading later this month.

Meanwhile, legislators in Guangdong and Beijing approved local food safety regulations on Friday and both will come into effect on January 1.

Before Friday's general meeting, Wu led a delegation doing spot checks on food and drug safety, as well as product quality of exports and imports in 11 cities in Guangdong.

"Guangdong, one of the country's economic powerhouses, has many toy, food and pharmaceutical companies that contribute one-third of the nation's trade volume. So it is of great importance to safeguard food and drug safety here," Wu said.

(China Daily December 1, 2007)

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