Monday, October 27, 2008

Wen vows China food to meet global standards

26 Oct 2008

BEIJING (AFP) — Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday that China's food exports would meet international standards and win the trust of people around the world, following a scandal over contaminated milk.

"We will use our actions and high quality of our food products to win the trust and confidence of Chinese people and people around the world," Wen told reporters at the end of a two-day summit of Asian and European leaders here.

He pledged Chinese food exports would "comply with the standards of importing countries".

Wen said China had made great efforts to improve its food safety system after the scandal over Chinese dairy products erupted last month, when the industrial chemical melamine was detected in milk.

Four babies died of kidney failure and at least 53,000 children fell ill after consuming tainted milk powder and other dairy products in China this year, according to official figures.

Chinese dairy products around the world were also recalled or banned after they were found to be contaminated, dealing another blow to the "Made in China" brand that has been tarnished by a string of safety scandals in recent years.

The melamine, normally used to make plastics, was illegally added into milk to make it appear higher in protein.

Wen pointed to a new law on food safety that was currently before China's parliament as one tangible way the nation was seeking to improve its dairy industry.

"We will improve legislation in food safety and product quality," he said, as he responded to a question about the milk scandal.

"We will surely take major steps forward to ensure food safety."

Wen had previously said his government was partly to blame for the milk scandal, as it was responsible for monitoring the industry at the heart of the crisis.

"We feel that although problems occurred at companies, the government also bears responsibility, particularly in the area of monitoring," Wen told the US-based Science Magazine in a recent interview.

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