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Massive Checkup Launched for Product Quality, Food Safety

Beijing will ban all unlicensed catering outlets and celebrity-starred medical ads by the end of this year, according to the capital's quality and food safety authorities.

The city would focus its quality checkup on ten kinds of products, including food, drugs, home appliances and toys, said the municipal government when kicking off a four-month campaign aimed at improving product quality and food safety on Saturday.

Vegetables, fruits, meat, edible oil, aquatic products, children's food and health food are the main targets in food checkups, according to a detailed plan for the campaign.

The plan says that by the end of the year the city will close all unlicensed restaurants, all its food producers must be qualified, and no harmful material can be used in food processing.

Medical advertisements in which public figures or experts testify the alleged effectiveness of products will also be banned.

"Currently, the main problem in the city's product quality and food safety lies in small food processing factories and workshops and in the urban-rural fringe areas," said Lu Hao, vice mayor of Beijing.

The checkups will be carried out by the city's industry and commerce, quality supervision and health departments.

The Chinese government has been striving to improve product quality after a string of safety scares with China-made products at home and abroad.

The scares included tainted wheat gluten for pet food and children's toys found to contain excessive lead levels.

In the latest move, China's quality watchdog on Friday introduced the nation's landmark recall systems for unsafe food products and toys. The recall regulations went into effect on the same day.

(Xinhua News Agency September 3, 2007)

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