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December 25, 2009

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Food safety a priority as city officials get ready for Expo

THE city is stepping up its efforts on food safety control as it looks forward to next year's World Expo.

"A better control of overall food safety and proper preparation for next year's World Expo are our current top tasks," said Xie Minqiang, deputy director of Shanghai Food and Drug Administration at a news conference yesterday.

"We will start trial operations in April and all the food supervision procedures including drills will be tested repeatedly before the World Expo officially kicks off," said Gu Zhenhua, director of Shanghai FDA's food supervision department.

"The six-month event puts a lot of pressure on local food safety issues, as the event runs from May to October, the hottest and wettest weather, has such a big number of visitors and offers different styles of food, which may have hidden risks."

Officials said about 85 percent of the 70 million visitors were expected to eat inside the Expo zone, which will have more than 130 restaurants, a Chinese traditional food street and food sections inside pavilions.

Most countries will be offering visitors their traditional foods in their pavilions.

The city government has established a supervision system covering the entire food supply and service chain. All food sales enterprises inside the zone will undergo strict scrutiny, food must be checked before being sent into the Expo zone and restaurants around the Expo zone will also be checked.

Officials said that Shanghai had recorded its lowest number of mass food poisoning cases this year. There were eight mass food poisoning incidents with 139 people sickened in the city this year, compared to last year's 17 cases with 467 victims.

Thanks to tighter food management and increased awareness, the number of food poisoning cases had dropped greatly. Shanghai had about 30 incidents with 2,000 people affected each year between 2000 and 2005.


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