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Food Safety Steps Encouraging: EU Official

The Chinese government's measures to improve the safety of food products are encouraging, but the most important thing is "implementation and results", the European Commissioner for Health said yesterday.

"The European Union (EU) is willing to provide any support necessary to reduce food safety problems related to Chinese products," Markos Kyprianou said in Beijing yesterday.

During his two-day visit to Beijing, Kyprianou held high-level meetings with Chinese officials to discuss issues such as food and fodder exports from China, including melamine in fodder and unauthorized genetically modified organisms in rice, and the measures to tackle illegal trade in food products.

The two sides have agreed to meet regularly to check illegal imports and exports of food products, he said. They will work closely to ensure food and vegetable exports maintain high sanitary standards.

Also, the Chinese government will inform EU of how the programs and measures to improve food safety will bear results.

In another important cooperative step, the European Commission is finalizing a software application that will give Chinese authorities direct access to the data transmitted through EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). This will help target food safety controls in future.

"Under such an alert system, food traders will be informed in real time on any findings of problems with Chinese products in Europe so that they can react immediately," Kyprianou said.

Last year, China was the most notified country on the RASFF, with more than 260 food safety problems about products made in the country.

(China Daily September 13, 2007)

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