Headline News


Lunar New Year food safety blitz

Source: Shanghai Daily | 01-13-2009 09:52

Special Report:   Spring Festival: Year of Ox

Food experts from Beijing will step up safety inspections in seven provinces ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on January 25 this year, the Ministry of Health said Monday.

Inspectors will target supermarkets, restaurants and food additive producing factories in seven provinces, including Hebei, the heart of last year's melamine-tainted milk scandal, Health Ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an said.

"We'll seriously check for illegal substances and additives in food and will severely punish companies or individuals who violate the law," Mao said at a news conference in Beijing.

The week-long Lunar New Year holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, is usually celebrated with family gatherings and sumptuous feasts.

"We will also update the public on major cases across the country," said Mao.

According to the ministry, the country had screened 22.4 million babies who were fed melamine-tainted formula by the end of December and found 296,000 were sickened. Hospitals treated 52,898 sick babies nationwide, with 52,582 cured.

Mao also said the government had allocated about 10 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion) for infectious disease control and new drug research and development.