tampabay.com

China promises crackdown on food, drug safety

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 10, 2007


SHANGHAI, China - China vowed Wednesday to crack down on contaminated and sometimes deadly food and drugs after a string of sensational revelations about the safety of Chinese products.

The campaign followed an announcement that authorities had detained managers from two companies linked to contaminated pet food that killed dogs and cats in the United States and Canada.

State media, meanwhile, said the country's disgraced former top drug regulator would go on trial this month on charges of taking bribes to approve untested medicine.

China has long suffered adverse publicity tied to its notoriously lax enforcement of food and drug safety, but the present round has been especially worrying.

China faces criticism from the United States and European Union for what they contend are unfair trade practices, and tainted food scandals could lead to bans on food products that would put hard-pressed Chinese farmers under even greater strain.

China's government body responsible for overseeing food safety said it had detained an unspecified number of managers from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. and Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had cited the firms as the source of pet food ingredients tainted with melamine, a chemical used in plastics, fertilizers and flame retardants.

U.S. inspectors said the tainted gluten was used to make pet food and caused the deaths of an unknown number of dogs and cats, sparking a recall of 154 brands of pet food contaminated with the chemical.