Vice-Premier Wu Yi and hundreds of high-ranking mainland officials wrapped up two days of spot checks on product quality and food safety in Guangdong yesterday, saying the authorities may set up a long-term supervision system to cement the gains. The inspections this week followed similar spot checks in Zhejiang and Shandong over the past few months, but Ms Wu said that this time the focus was more on drug safety and the quality of exports. In Zhejiang and Shandong, inspectors examined individual food producers, small restaurants and farms. 'We can only say that the achievements we have made are interim,' she said. As part of the spot checks, Ms Wu visited three factories in Guangzhou and Foshan, and more than 320 other ministerial and provincial representatives, including Li Changjiang, the head of the State Council's product quality and food safety supervision group, evaluated 89 sites in 11 cities across the province. At a general meeting yesterday, Mr Li told representatives and some senior Guangdong officials, including party boss Zhang Dejiang and Governor Huang Huahua that the inspection groups spoke highly of the province's safety and quality efforts. 'Some local cadres also told me that the checks had been the toughest of the past few years and the tests helped resolve some tricky problems that had lasted for years,' Mr Li said. Since September, mainland authorities have sent out millions of information packages throughout the country to teach producers, especially those in the food, toys, agriculture and drug industries, how to lift their standards. Mr Li said 98.7 per cent of small food producers had signed guarantees to protect the safety of their products. He said all producers of ingredients for exported food were inspected and nearly 120,000 uncertified companies closed down. But the officials were concerned about how they could maintain the 'interim achievements' made in the past few months. Attending the meeting yesterday, Shandong Deputy Governor Wang Junmin said his colleagues welcomed the special spot checks because they had given a big boost to the work of local inspectors. But they also believed the core of the issue of food safety and product quality was how to set up a long-term and efficient supervision system, he said. Mr Wang said that faced with millions of producers, lower-level authorities were always going to be hard-pressed to inspect every corner of the market. 'Some bad habits, such as trying to cut costs rather than caring about food quality, have lasted for many years on the mainland and are still deeply rooted in many producers' minds. 'This is the biggest obstacle for our job,' he said. Mr Wang said one challenge to their work was unwillingness of small shop owners to give receipts to customers, making it tough for the government to set up product tracking and recall systems. 'It will take a long time for people to form good habits,' he said. The officials agreed that an integrated approach was needed to guarantee food safety and product quality on the mainland, and the central government needed to persist in pushing for higher standards. 'We hope that after Vice-Premier Wu retires, her successor can work as hard as her,' Mr Wang said.