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Beijing to track Olympic foodstuff

China will use global positioning satellites to ensure safe practices.

August 07, 2007|From the Associated Press

beijing -- China said Monday that it would use global positioning satellites to ensure food safety at the Beijing Olympics as it steps up efforts to blacklist manufacturers who violate safety regulations.

Wang Wei, an executive vice president of the Beijing Olympic Committee, said the high-tech system would monitor food production, processing factories and food hygiene during the Games to make sure healthy food is delivered to the 10,500 athletes in the Olympic village.

Food products will be affixed with an "Olympic food safety logistics code" and vehicles transporting them will be tracked using global positioning satellites, Wang said. He did not provide further details of either plan.

"The whole process will be monitored from the start of production through transportation to the end users," Wang said. "We are very confident about ensuring food safety in Beijing."

Wang said extra measures would also be taken to ensure food safety for the public.

"During the Games some special monitoring mechanisms will also be applied to monitor restaurants and public food sellers to let people know how they can buy safe food," he said.

The Beijing Olympics, which begin Aug. 8, 2008, are a huge source of pride for China.

In a separate announcement, Beijing-based Qianxihe Food Group Ltd., an Olympic sponsor, said it had begun selling a hormone-free line of pork for the Games, an executive said.

The company's pigs have been fed food without hormones and are part of the Beijing Olympics' special supply of pork stock that will be consumed by athletes and can be bought in supermarkets by the public, said the executive, who would give only her surname, Tong.

Questions over the safety of Chinese products arose this year when a Chinese-made pet food ingredient was linked to the deaths of cats and dogs in North America. Since then, Chinese-made goods including toothpaste and tires have been banned or recalled in numerous countries.

The U.S. also has blocked imports of five types of farmed seafood from China that were found to contain unapproved drugs.

Wang's comments came after Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said that 429 exporters had been blacklisted and punished for producing dangerously substandard products. The companies include two whose products were implicated in the pet deaths in North America.

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