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China Orders Bar Codes for Safety Monitoring of 69 Product Categories

China ordered 69 categories of products to be bar-coded at factories starting Monday, Dec. 3, in its latest effort to improve product safety.

The products range from electronics, electrical wires and agricultural production materials to food and cosmetics.

The action, announced jointly by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the Ministry of Commerce and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, is part of a program by regulators to establish a quality monitoring and tracking system.

Factories technically have a transitional six-month period to use up old packaging but are actually being ordered to join the new system sooner.

The monitoring system, created in 2005, allows consumers to check bar-code data by phone, text message, internet, and information terminals.

The government introduced recall systems for unsafe food and toys on Aug. 31 and launched a four-month safety inspection nationwide starting in late August after several product-safety scares.

The safety incidents included parasite-infested snails, ducks and hens that were fed cancer-causing Sudan Red dye to make their egg yolks red and pet food containing melamine-tainted wheat protein that killed scores of dogs and cats in the United States.

(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2007)

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