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Product Quality, Food Safety Measures Enacted

The Chinese government has taken six measures in one month to ensure food security and reliability of Chinese products, said Li Changjiang, head of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, on Monday in Beijing.

The State Council had held a national work meeting on product quality and food safety, at which Premier Wen Jiabao spoke, the first such meeting in seven years, said Li.

China's cabinet has promulgated regulations on supervision over product quality and food safety. It also issued a circular that stipulated manufacturers should take the primary responsibility for ensuring product quality and food safety.

On August 17, the cabinet issued a white paper on food safety with a pledge to prevent the export of substandard food.

The cabinet has established a national leading group headed by Vice Premier Wu Yi to address product quality and safety issues.

Late last week, the government started a four-month nationwide campaign to improve the quality of goods and food safety.

Vice Premier Wu Yi described the campaign as a "special battle" to ensure public health and interests and uphold the reputation of Chinese products.

The campaign will target farm produce, processed food, the catering sector, drugs, pork, imported and exported goods and products closely linked to human safety and health.

Wu called for an integrated quality monitoring network across the country, covering product design, raw materials, processing, sales and services.

Li said Chinese product issues recently raised by the United States resulted from three factors.

The first factor was that some products China exported to the United States did have problems in quality, Li said, citing exported toothpastes containing diethylene glycol and toy exports with paint containing excessive lead.

The Chinese government had approved of US companies issuing product recalls, and it would thoroughly investigate problematic Chinese firms and penalize them when necessary.

The second factor was that the two countries imposed different criteria and defined them differently on certain products. To this end, the two would further exchange views and try to reach consensus.

The third factor was that some qualified Chinese exports were claimed as unqualified at certain times and places by inspecting agencies with unreliable data. In this regard, China was discussing with the United States feasible measures to solve the problems.

Since March, quality and safety issues of made-in-China products have been under international spotlight, ranging from pet foods to drugs, toothpastes, toys, aquatic products and tyres.

(Xinhua News Agency Augsut 28, 2007)

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