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Economy

After Baby Milk Scandal, China Launches Food Industry Safety System

The Chinese Industry Ministry has created a new system for monitoring information on all companies that produce food. With awards to the best and a black list for the worst, it is a long-awaited response to a 2008 scandal involving tainted baby milk.

Workers canning tangerines at the Huangyan No 1 Canned Food Factory
Workers canning tangerines at the Huangyan No 1 Canned Food Factory

Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES

BEIJING - After a series of scandals involving tainted food, including cooking oil made from sewage and poisonous baby milk, the Ministry of Industry has decided to strengthen the management of food safety in China.

The Ministry announced this week it is setting up a so-called "Food Industry Credit System," which puts in place a nationwide information platform to promote safety regulation and supervision of the nearly ten thousand food processing companies in China.

After a huge scandal erupted in 2008 when melamine additives were found in baby milk and formula, leading to the death of six infants, the Ministry of Industry has been working on a long-term plan to consolidate the responsibility for the food industry – and to improve its image, Zu Hongzen, the Chief Engineer of the Ministry said.

The new public platform will collect and disseminate information about any company that is in the food-producing business. The platform will give awards to trustworthy companies as well as regularly publishing a black list of the untrustworthy businesses.

Since last year, the Ministry of Industry has already started testing the system in the dairy and meat processing business.

The first half of this year, the Ministry has launched this platform in a further 23 provinces, focusing in the condiments, winery, beverages and canned-food industries. It has also conducted a special staff training course for 3,300 people from companies in different provinces around China.

A source at the Industry Ministry said 4,000 more companies will enter a credibility management system this year. But what will likely be most welcomed: infant milk powder companies are all being made to comply.

*Read the original article in full in Chinese by Zhang Xiangdong

Photo - (everyone)

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations of the original text.

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