Additives, Contamination China's Top Food Concerns

CHINA - Overuse of food additives and microbial contamination were the primary food safety problems facing China last year, according to the top food authority.
calendar icon 18 January 2017
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The two together accounted for more than 64 per cent of all food safety problems found in random inspections by the China Food and Drug Administration, Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman for the administration, announced on Monday.

"The overall situation remained stable compared with the previous year, as nearly 97 per cent of the food products inspected last year were up to standard," Ms Yan said.

About 257,000 samples of food products were tested nationwide by the administration last year.

For infant milk powder, 0.9 per cent failed to meet the national standards. Dairy products, in general, recorded satisfactory results, with 99.5 per cent up to standards.

In addition, food products manufactured and sold by large companies are less likely to be substandard, Ms Yan said, suggesting consumers buy food from reputable outlets.

Additional food safety concerns revealed in the inspection last year included heavy metal contamination, and excessive amounts of pesticide residues and veterinary drugs, she added.

She attributed these problems to contamination of soil and water, and the overuse of pesticides and animal drugs, particularly antibiotics.

Guo Wenqi, deputy director of the administration, said, "These will also be the focus of our inspections in 2017."

He pledged to further beef up random inspections of farm produce within the year and enhance cooperation with agricultural authorities to safeguard food safety and quality.

"Results of the inspections will be publicized in a timely manner to help consumers with food choices in the market," he said.

Despite strengthened government efforts and improved food safety conditions, China still faces challenges, public health experts said.

In a case reported by Beijing News on Monday, a gang in Tianjin was caught making fake brand-name food, including sauces and seasonings, with industrial salt and leftovers.

The food can cause kidney and liver damage, the paper quoted Liu Shaowei, an expert at East China University of Science and Technology, as saying.

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