Wen Jiabao

More products cut in safety crackdown

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2007, 12:00am

The central government has called again for stepped-up efforts to ensure pork supplies and food safety in its ongoing campaign to improve domestic food and drug markets, with two more products pulled from the shelves.

Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu yesterday urged local governments to strengthen the supervision of food safety, which became a major international concern after a string of Chinese goods, ranging from seafood to toothpaste, were banned for containing dangerous substances.

The State Food and Drug Administration suspended sales yesterday of Methotrexate, a drug for leukaemia patients manufactured by Shanghai Hulian Pharmaceutical, because of negative side effects, Xinhua said.

Meanwhile, quality control authorities in Zhejiang province said they had removed a Japanese milk powder from the market because it failed to meet domestic quality standards. The powder, produced in Australia by a Japanese company, did not contain enough zinc but had too much iodine, Xinhua said.

During a teleconference with provincial leaders, Mr Hui also urged local governments to subsidise pig breeding to stabilise pork supplies and called for the mandatory immunisation of pigs and tighter animal disease controls.

The mainland's pork price surged 59.8 per cent year on year in June, the National Bureau of Statistics said, due to production bottlenecks and blue ear disease.

It helped push the country's inflation rate to an almost three-year high of 4.4 per cent in June.

The Ministry of Agriculture said the wholesale price of pork rose 74.6 per cent year on year in June.

Premier Wen Jiabao has since spoken several times about the importance of taming soaring pork prices.

On Saturday, he approved a new set of measures to encourage farmers to rear pigs.