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China to strive for safer products: PM Wen

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 5, 2008
China will step up its monitoring of product safety, Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday, as it tries to counter a string of scandals over Chinese-made goods ranging from food to toys.

Authorities would "accelerate efforts to formulate or update national standards for product quality and safety," Wen told legislators at the annual session of parliament.

Wen also vowed to ensure the country's testing regime matched international standards.

"This year, we will complete the formulation or updating of more than 7,700 national standards for the safety of food products, drugs and other consumer goods to put in place a sound system of standards for product safety," he said.

Laws would be introduced or revised, oversight would be improved and exports would be more closely monitored, Wen added.

China launched a four-month safety campaign to license food producers last August in response to a spate of safety scandals worldwide involving Chinese-made products.

The drive resulted in 192,400 unlicensed food shops being closed and over 1,250 tonnes of substandard food withdrawn from domestic markets by the end of 2007, an earlier report by the state Xinhua news agency said.

The campaign was extended into the New Year, but the list of scandals has continued, with the latest being a scare over Chinese-made dumplings in Japan which left several people ill with pesticide poisoning.

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France proposes tougher EU rules for modified crops
Brussels (AFP) March 3, 2008
France on Monday proposed scrapping the EU's present system for authorising genetically modified crops for tougher standards which take into account a wide range of environmental and safety factors.

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