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Food poisoning warnings go to air

SHANGHAI will put a food poisoning warning system on its daily television and Website weather forecasts, the city's food and drug watchdog said yesterday.

The city started researching an early warning system for toxins last year and set up a mathematical model and treatment procedures, said Xie Minqiang, vice director of the Municipal Food and Drug Administration.

"We analyzed and compared food poisoning incidents and weather data for the past few decades and found they were closely connected," Xie said.

Weather conditions with the right temperature and humidity that continue for three days or more can be a catalyst for bacteria forming in food and the early warning system can help advise the public of this, Xie said.

Xie said the system had been almost completed and an internal trial will be held this month.

The food poisoning warning system will be published from June along with the weather forecast and advice on morning exercising and laundry, Xie said.

It would not be published every day, just during the period when there was a danger of food poisoning, mainly from April to October, Xie said.

Food safety was a major concern during the city's annual parliamentary session after several food contamination scandals last year, including the fatal melamine-tainted milk scandal last September.

There were 17 mass food poisoning incidents last year, up 30.77 percent from a year before, involving 467 people but no fatalities.

Fifteen incidents involving 403 people were caused by bacterial contamination.


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