August 2, 2011


China extends food-tracking system to 10 more cities


China's Ministry of Commerce on Friday (Jul 29) expanded a pilot meat and vegetable tracking system to 10 more cities, aiming to improve food safety, according to news report.


Officials from the ministry signed cooperative agreements with senior government officials from 10 cities including Harbin, Jinan and Urumqi on Friday, to start the second phase of a pilot project for a meat and vegetable tracking system.


The ministry started the first-phase pilot of the system in October 2010 in 10 cities, including Shanghai and Dalian. The system will allow consumers to check the provenance of meat and vegetables by the use of bar codes on the products once the system is in place.


The system will standardise the transportation of meat and vegetables, two key agricultural products, and will lead to changes in the current system to provide a higher standard of food safety, the report said.


"The tracking system will boost the development of modern transportation of agricultural produce with electronic commerce. Transportation is an important factor in the price fluctuations of agricultural products," said Jiang Zengwei, vice-minister of commerce.


"By the end of the year, the tracking system piloted in the first 10 cities will be put into full use. By the end of the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), the tracking system should cover the transportation of meat and vegetables across the country and will be expanded to other areas such as fruit and marine products on a step-by-step basis," Jiang added.


Approximately 80% of meat and vegetables in the larger cities are produced in rural areas, while more than 80% of the transportation is done through wholesale markets. The first-phase of the system now covers 176 slaughterhouses, 100 large wholesale markets, more than 3,000 food markets, 1,400 supermarkets and more than 4,400 bulk buyers in the 10 pilot cities, the report saod.

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