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WHO chief praises China's efforts on food safety
2007-10-31 02:23:06 AFP

BEIJING, Oct 31, 2007 (AFP) - World Health Organisation chief Margaret Chan on Wednesday praised China's efforts to crack down on chronic food-safety problems that have tarnished the image of Chinese products globally.

Chan told Li Changjiang, head of the China's product-quality watchdog, that she was "very impressed" with an ongoing nationwide product-safety inspection campaign launched in August.

"I am confident that the way forward will be good for the world and for China. This is exactly what we are looking to you for, strengthened efforts," the WHO director-general told Li.

"(Food safety) is a serious matter not only for the (WHO), but for the world as a whole," said Chan, who is China for a global health forum.

China said this week that 774 people have so far been arrested in the nationwide effort to strengthen inspections and safety enforcement in the manufacturing and sale of food, drugs and other products.

China has scrambled in recent months to clamp down on shoddy and dangerous goods following a string of scandals.

In recent months, Chinese products ranging from seafood to car tyres to children's toys have been subjected to bans and recalls overseas amid safety fears.

Li, who heads the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, later told reporters China and the WHO would jointly host an international conference in Beijing aimed at fostering global cooperation on food safety on November 26-27.

"Every country in the world should join hands cooperatively to improve and ensure food safety," he said.

Chan, formerly Hong Kong's top health official, was named WHO chief last November, vowing that her Chinese nationality would not prevent her from pressuring China to improve on health matters.

Chan did not take reporters' questions.

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