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China to Stipulate, Update 7,700 Food, Drug Standards

China will stipulate or update more than 7,700 national standards for the safety of food, drugs and other consumer goods this year, as part of the efforts to ensure product quality and safety, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Wen pledged to increase punishment on enterprises that violate laws and regulations pertaining to product quality and safety, and improve the oversight and control systems in this regard.

"We will raise the requirements for production permits and tighten market access for products related to people's health and safety...and strictly control the quality of exports and imports," said Wen while delivering a report on the work of his cabinet at the opening meeting of the annual full session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

"It is imperative that the people feel confident about the safety of food and other consumer goods and that our exports have a good reputation," Wen told nearly 3,000 national legislators and more than 2,000 political advisors at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

The remarks of the premier came after China has seen frequent food and drug-related incidents in which people were poisoned or even killed as well as international disputes on product quality and standard in recent years.

The food cases included vegetables with pesticide residue, fish contaminated with suspected carcinogens and eggs tainted with the industrial dye Sudan Red.

"All requirements and testing methods for the safety and quality of food and other consumer goods will comply with international standards," Wen said.

"China's exports will meet both international standards and the laws and regulations on technical standards of the importing countries," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 5, 2008)

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