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New Measures on Pork Quality

The government yesterday launched a three-month campaign to address the issue of pork safety, the latest in a series of food-related quality control measures.

Jiang Zengwei, vice minister for commerce said by the end of the year, the government sought to ensure all pork in above-county level markets are from approved slaughterhouses.

A supervision system covering the whole process of pork production from breeding to slaughtering and supply, will also be set up, he said.

"We aim to tackle not only the existing problems, but also establish a long-term system to deal with the problem at its root," Jiang said.

Pork is a staple in China accounting for 65 percent of all the meat consumed. In 2006, the country produced 52 million tons of pork, more than 53 percent of the total world output.

These latest measures are part of a broader effort by the government to enhance food safety, which has been the subject of international concern in recent months.

Last month, the government launched a nationwide quality and safety campaign, which was described by Vice Premier Wu Yi as a "special battle" to ensure people's health and protect the global image of Chinese products.

The campaign targets agricultural products, processed food, the catering sector, drugs, pork, and imported and exported goods.

Pork has also been under spotlight because of its surging price, caused by a rise in animal-feed prices and the blue-ear epidemic.

According to figures from the National Development and Reform Commission, at the end of last month, the price of pork was up 70.3 percent year on year.

However, figures from the Ministry of Commerce show the price is decreasing gradually. It fell for the fourth week in a row last week, down 2.1 percent on the previous week.

But Jiang said the price will remain high because demand will increase as the weather gets cooler.

"Pork production is recovering but there is still some way to go," he said.

"We need to increase the amount of pigs to really tackle the problem."

(China Daily September 6, 2007)

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