Advisers want food safety laws to be better enforced

Updated: 2011-04-19 09:00

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Members of a body that advises the State Council have added their voices to Premier Wen Jiabao's and called for the government to strengthen law enforcement and supervision to reverse the trend that has seen a growing number of scandals involving food safety.

Wen told a host of newly appointed members of the Counselors' Office of the State Council and the Central Research Institute of Culture and History that he regards the food safety issue as a matter of morality and cultural building. He made the remarks while addressing the prominent scholars at an appointment ceremony on Thursday.

Wen's words resonated with the members who said the issue even goes beyond morality.

"Apart from moral condemnation, the resolution of this problem also requires integral efforts from different authorities, especially the law enforcement departments and supervisory bodies," Tang Min, a new counselor who is also vice-chairman of the China Social Entrepreneur Foundation, told China Daily on Monday.

Zhang Gang, chief engineer at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the country's top quality control watchdog, was also appointed a new councilor.

The appointment of Zhang shows the government's resolve in cracking down on food safety scandals, Tang said.

During his speech, Wen called on the counselors to convey the people's wishes without concealing anything, citing food safety scandals that have been a problem recently including melamine-contaminated infant formula, steamed buns that had been dyed with unidentified chemicals, the use of "lean meat powder" and poor-quality recycled cooking oil known as "gutter oil" as examples of moral deterioration.

"A country will never grow into a real mighty and respected power without the improvement of its people's lives and without the power of morality," Wen said.

Sang Liwei, a representative of the Global Food Safety Forum, told China Daily that the government needs to address food safety problems directly and should not take up minor issues and evade the big ones.

"Legislation and morality are two different approaches in addressing social issues such as food safety. It will be one-sided if the government just emphasizes one of the two and neglects the other," he said.


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