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China Issues New Regulation on Food Safety

China's State Council publicized a special regulation on the supervision of food safety on Friday amid serious criticism from home and abroad of the quality of food products made in China.

The regulation issued by the State Council is aimed at intensifying the control over producers and distributors dealing with food products. The main points are:

-- Inspection and quarantine authorities, as well as commercial and drug supervisors, should establish positive and negative records for Chinese food exporters and submit the records to the media regularly.

-- Local governments at county level and above are mainly responsible for the supervision of food product safety.

-- Exporters of food products who provide fake quality certificates or evade quality and quarantine inspections will be fined three times the product's value.

China has faced a barrage of international criticism over the state of its food industry in the first six months of the year following a series of scandals.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced at the end of March that pet food imported from China had caused the deaths of cats and dogs. Later, in May, Chinese toothpaste was found to contain diethylene glycol in Central America and the United States.

Japan, Singapore, Australia and other countries sent back millions of toothpaste tubes and Canada halted imports from China.

The FDA also refused seafood products from China in June, saying that it would not resume imports until Chinese exporters provided necessary safety certificates.

The regulation has also set out rules on the supervision of imported food products.

-- China's imported food products should meet both the national compulsory standards and criteria in the contracts signed by Chinese importers and foreign exporters.

-- Chinese importers should make detailed records of domestic distributions for imported food products and the records should be kept for at least two years.

-- Inspection and quarantine authorities should establish a blacklist for foreign exporters and to seriously punish domestic importers who introduced unqualified food products.

(Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2007)

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