August 27, 2008


US to station food safety inspectors in China


The US is stationing inspectors in three Chinese cities to ensure Chinese exports to the US are uncontaminated.


Up to 15 inspectors will be assigned to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt said.


China agreed in December 2007 to let the Food and Drug Administration establish China offices, among other agreements reached in its Strategic Economic Dialogue with the US.


Although China's government "worked hard" at improving safety, having understood that the made-in-China brand was affected by product quality problems, Leavitt said the problem is not completely solved.


Public food safety concerns over Chinese products prompted US President George Bush to boost the FDA's budget by US$275 million for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 to finance inspections of overseas plants that export food and medicine to the US.


Last year, contaminated feed in pet food prompted the largest recall of petfood in US history. Investigations showed the ingredient responsible, melamine, came from China. The discovery initiated an avalanche of safety problems on Chinese products after greater scrutiny.

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