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The Quality and Safety of Food in China

The Quality and Safety of Food in China (I)

Information Office of the State Council of The People's Republic of China August 2007 Beijing

The quality and safety of food is a major benchmark of the economic development and people's living conditions of a country. Adhering to the people-oriented approach, the Chinese Government has always attached great importance to food quality and safety. Moreover, sticking to the principle of nipping problems in the bud, it has built and improved a supervisory system and mechanism for food safety, strengthened legislation and the setting of relevant standards, exercised strict quality control regarding food, actively promoted international exchanges and cooperation in this respect, and has greatly raised public awareness of food safety. Thanks to such efforts, the overall level of food quality in China is being steadily enhanced, the situation of food safety is continuously improving, and the order in food production and operation have markedly turned for the better.

I. Food Production and Food Quality

1. The Quality and Safety Level of Processed Food Is Steadily Improving

(1) Rapid and Sound Development of the Food-Processing Industry

In recent years, China's food industry has maintained fast and sound growth, with a steady increase in economic benefits. Foodstuffs can be classified by their raw materials and processing techniques into 525 kinds in 28 categories: processed grain products; edible oil, fat and fat products; seasonings; meat products; dairy products; soft drinks; convenient food; biscuits; canned food; iced drinks; fast-frozen food; potato and dilated food; candies (including chocolate and chocolate products); tea; alcoholic beverages; vegetable products; fruit products; roasted seeds and nuts; egg products; cocoa and bakery coffee products; sugar; processed aquatic products; starch and starch products; pastries; bean products; bee products; special diet food, and others. At present, China has 448,000 enterprises engaged in foodstuff production and processing. Among them, 26,000 enterprises of designated scale occupy 72 percent of the market, taking the leading role in terms of output and sales revenue; 69,000 are enterprises not up to the designated scale and those with more than 10 employees, taking up a market share of 18.7 percent; and 353,000 are small businesses or workshops with fewer than 10 employees, with a market share of 9.3 percent. (See Table 1)

Statistics show that, in 2006, industrial food enterprises of designated scale generated 2,158.695 billion yuan of output value (excluding tobacco), accounting for 6.8 percent of the national industrial output value, and up 23.5 percent year on year. The average annual industrial added value and profit of processing enterprises of grain, oil, meat and dairy products all exceeded 20 percent. The output of major foodstuffs in 2006 were: wheat flour, 51.93 million tons; edible vegetable oil, 19.855 million tons; fresh frozen meat, 11.125 million tons; dairy products, 14.596 million tons; beer, 35.152 million kl; and soft drinks, 42.198 million tons. These figures show rises of 28.2 percent, 17.5 percent, 24 percent, 23.5 percent, 14.7 percent and 21.5 percent year on year, respectively. In the first six months of 2007, the accumulated output value of the food industry amounted to 1,281.62 billion yuan, up 29.9 percent as compared with the corresponding period last year. The output of beer, edible oi