Posted by: Bevs | January 15, 2008

China to scrutinize Olympic food

BEIJING – Food for the Beijing Olympics will be highly scrutinized and supplied only by approved companies, a Chinese official said Monday while reporting on recent efforts to keep harmful food out of the national supply chain and a crackdown on shoddy toy makers.

The product safety campaign that began in August surveyed 3,000 toy producers and led to officials yanking the export licenses of 600, said Pu Changcheng, vice minister of the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

“Product quality and food safety are global issues,” Pu said.

China launched the initiative — part public relations drive, part crackdown — after several countries recalled Chinese-made toys containing lead paint and other dangerous parts last year.

Pu said lax quality supervision was to blame for the companies losing their licenses, but gave no specifics. He also defended the safety record of Chinese toys, saying many failed safety standards due to design flaws or the changing regulations of importing countries.

The campaign has also focused attention on the country’s chronic domestic food safety woes, particularly as Beijing prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors for the Aug. 8-24 Summer Games.

Past food scares have centered around fake milk powder that led to the deaths of at least a dozen babies and the use of the banned cancer-causing industrial dye Sudan Red to color egg yolks.

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