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Food-inspection drive

FOOD safety will be made a priority this year for Shanghai's farmers, officials said yesterday at a government conference about rural development.

Samples of more than 500,000 vegetables will be tested for pesticide residue this year and inspectors will keep checking to avoid banned chemicals such as Clenbuteral and Ractopamine, which have been fed to pigs in the past to prevent them building up too much fat, officials of the Shanghai Agricultural Commission said.

One hundred farms will be selected to provide safe and branded food to the 2010 World Expo, said the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration.

Environmental protection will be another priority this year. The commission plans to encourage local farmers to use 200,000 tons of environmentally friendly fertilizer, including 160,000 tons of organic fertilizer. They will also ask farmers to plant 20,000 hectares of fertilizing crops, which can be harvested and buried underground to put nutrients back into the soil.

Ten livestock and poultry farms will be built this year to raise animals in fields where fruit trees or other crops are grown, so the animals' droppings can fertilize plants and animals can find food in the fields, said Sun Lei, the commission director.


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