After a series of health warnings and recalls about Chinese-made products, China has agreed to clamp down on the use of illegal chemicals.
Sun Zhengcai, Chinese Minister of Agriculture, told consumers that they had no reason to fear eating most of the nations produce. However, the country has struggled with bad press throughout the year, combined with a bad track record on pollution.
Sun promised stiff action against farmers and producers who used banned chemicals to boost yields and profits: “This crackdown campaign will be no mere formality.”
The move comes after the United States announced in June that it no longer allow imports of Chinese farm-raised catfish, shrimp and other seafood unless suppliers could prove that shipments were free from harmful residues. Contaminants in seafood include malachite green, a potential carcinogen illegally used to kill fungus and bacteria in fish tanks. Other incidents this year include the discovery by toy manufacturer Mattel that many of their Chinese-made toys contained toxic levels of lead in their paint, and the death of dogs in America due to pet food contaminated with melamine.
From September onwards a new labelling system will prove that foods for exportation meet an acceptable standard, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The product recall system has also been improved to ensure that the population is protected adequately from toxic items.
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