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Govt Pours US$1 Bln on Drug, Food Safety

China will spend 8.8 billion yuan (US$1.16 billion) to improve food and drug supervision, the industry watchdog announced yesterday.

The money will mainly be spent on building or upgrading infrastructure which will be in place by 2010, State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) spokeswoman Yan Jiangying said.

Yan also announced that the SFDA will hold press conferences every two weeks to brief the media on the food security situation. During the first regular briefing on July 11, Yan admitted the country's food and drug situation was unsatisfactory and vowed to improve it.

To that end, the central and provincial watchdogs will get more teeth, Yan said.

"They are authorized to seal factories, arrange spot checks, and seize whatever material they need when probing sub-standard goods."

Yan listed several projects for which the government funds will be used, including the upgrading of the 16 centers to test imported drugs as well as the National Center for Medical Devices Testing and relocation of the National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products.

"The current infrastructure and technology of China's food and drug supervision system lags behind what is needed, especially in the western regions," Yan said.

"With this investment, China will comprehensively improve the infrastructure and technology for food and drug administration in three to five years," said Yan.

(China Daily August 9, 2007)

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