December 10, 2008


China steps up efforts to rid use of banned chemicals in food


China is launching a food safety campaign on Wednesday that will include inspections of food producers to weed out banned or excessive chemicals in food.


The four-month campaign is China's new move to restore confidence that had been damaged by the recent melamine contamination scandal.


The campaign will be jointly conducted by nine central government departments and will target food and additive producers across China, said the Health Ministry.


The Ministry said the campaign will be conducted in three phases, with companies first asked to conduct internal checks over the next month.


Authorities will then take two months to inspect producers of meat, dairy and other protein-rich products, and conduct checks on markets.


The third phase will focus on halting the supply of illegal food additives by targeting producers and penalising companies that use such chemicals.


Banned chemicals from previous domestic food scandals will be among those targeted, including malachite green and industrial dye sudan red, both of which could cause cancer. 


The campaign comes amid efforts to address concerns at home and overseas on how China is tackling its worst food safety crisis in years.


The Ministry said last week that six babies had died and 294,000 others suffered urinary problems from the consumption of melamine-tainted infant formula.

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