Food safety a test of our resolve, says Li
Premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang believes ensuring food safety will be a crucial test of the government's drive to be an effective regulator.
Speaking at an inter-ministerial National Food Safety Committee meeting, Li said the government should pay more attention to balancing economic growth and people's livelihood.
"The public knows if the government is working hard to ensure food safety," Li told officials at the meeting in remarks reported by state media yesterday.
"If we cannot not balance economic growth and livelihood improvement, prosperity will be mere numbers that people cannot enjoy."
The mainland has been plagued by a series of food safety scandals in recent years, including melamine-tainted baby formula and widespread use of "gutter oil" in restaurants and food products.
Li was appointed the Communist Party's No 2 at November's party congress and will succeed Wen Jiabao as premier in March.
He admitted improving food safety was a daunting task, China News Service reported.
At Wednesday's meeting, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the country had about 140,000 licensed food manufacturers, plus 200,000 unlicensed ones, the People's Daily website said.
Li said the government needed to speed up transforming itself into an effective regulator that could ensure a level-playing field with rule of law.
To what extent it could deliver on ensuring food safety rules were enforced would directly reflect how effective it was playing its regulatory role.
The National Food Safety Committee, set up in 2010, aims to co-ordinate the various ministries and departments that are involved in food safety.
Li hinted that more reorganisation may be needed to further integrate and streamline food-safety enforcement, China News Service reported.