China’s new recipe for safety

Scott Tong Jun 6, 2007
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China’s new recipe for safety

Scott Tong Jun 6, 2007
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: China has announced a major plan to tackle food and medicine safety. This comes following a number of scandals. Last week the head of the nation’s food and drug administration was sentenced to death for taking bribes from drug companies. China is sensitive about its international image as it prepares for the Olympics in Beijing next summer. I asked Marketplace Shanghai correspondent Scott Tong about this new program.

SCOTT TONG: Well the announcement came form the State Council, which is China’s cabinet. And the plan sets a lot of goals for what China’s going to accomplish as far as inspecting food and drugs — everything from how they’re gonna check livestock, recall procedures, drug inspections, the supply chains. In the end, they’re trying to improve the safety of food and drugs sold in China and, obviously, exported from China.

THOMAS: The scope and depth of this program is pretty unprecedented isn’t it?

TONG: It is as far as the goals that the government is setting here. What seems to be clear is that there is a lot of anxiety on the domestic front and the foreign front. Now here in China there have been deaths of babies because of substandard milk powder. There have been deaths of gwon-ups because of antibiotics that turned out to not be what was advertised. So there’s a lot of domestic pressure that’s been happening way before this international crisis. And of course almost every day brings another piece of bad news for China. Today in Singapore they announced they’re not going to import certain kinds of Chinese toothpaste. So the sense that there is a growing amount of international concern is definitely on the minds of China’s regulators.

THOMAS: Scott Tong is the Marketplace correspondent in Shanghai, thanks Scott.

TONG: Alright Mark, thank you.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: China has announced a major plan to tackle food and medicine safety. This comes following a number of scandals. Last week the head of the nation’s food and drug administration was sentenced to death for taking bribes from drug companies. China is sensitive about its international image as it prepares for the Olympics in Beijing next summer. I asked Marketplace Shanghai correspondent Scott Tong about this new program.

SCOTT TONG: Well the announcement came form the State Council, which is China’s cabinet. And the plan sets a lot of goals for what China’s going to accomplish as far as inspecting food and drugs — everything from how they’re gonna check livestock, recall procedures, drug inspections, the supply chains. In the end, they’re trying to improve the safety of food and drugs sold in China and, obviously, exported from China.

THOMAS: The scope and depth of this program is pretty unprecedented isn’t it?

TONG: It is as far as the goals that the government is setting here. What seems to be clear is that there is a lot of anxiety on the domestic front and the foreign front. Now here in China there have been deaths of babies because of substandard milk powder. There have been deaths of gwon-ups because of antibiotics that turned out to not be what was advertised. So there’s a lot of domestic pressure that’s been happening way before this international crisis. And of course almost every day brings another piece of bad news for China. Today in Singapore they announced they’re not going to import certain kinds of Chinese toothpaste. So the sense that there is a growing amount of international concern is definitely on the minds of China’s regulators.

THOMAS: Scott Tong is the Marketplace correspondent in Shanghai, thanks Scott.

TONG: Alright Mark, thank you.

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