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Food Information Network Lauded

The government has heralded the establishment of a nationwide food contaminant monitoring network.

Covering more than 800 million residents in 15 provinces, the network has so far accumulated 400,000 pieces of intelligence about the most frequently encountered chemical contaminants in up to 54 food items, consumed on a daily basis.

Mao Qun'an, spokesman of the Ministry of Health told a regular press conference yesterday, that thanks to the information support network, food watchdogs across the country could readily track and investigate food scares.

In a barrage of such cases like the red and beer scares triggered by cancer-causing ingredients Sudan-IV and formaldehyde, Mao said the system would give watchdogs an edge to provide more accurate and scientific information, to help relieve unnecessary public panic.

"Irresponsible media hype should give way to scientific evidence-based records." Mao said.

China's food safety and health related problems have been an easy target for foreign media after sensational headlines.

Some foreign media latched onto the tragedy of Whang Joung-il, 52, a high-ranking diplomat at the Korean Embassy in China, who died while being treated in a clinic in downtown Beijing at the end of July.

The case is still being investigated, Mao said. He expressed deep condolences.

In addition, the ministry pledged to strengthen surveillance over the country's catering industry.

(China Daily August 11, 2007)

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