Official Chinese media reported yesterday that a panel of 42 experts in the field of hygiene, agriculture, food, and nutrition was created by the government to assess current food safety risks.
According to China’s Food Safety Law, the panel is responsible for creating risk monitoring and assessment models.
Minister of Health Chen Zhu told Xinhua that in the next two years the ministry would establish a national monitoring network for food contamination and foodborne illness.
In recent years, China has come under increased scrutiny for its lax regulatory system, blamed for serious problems with pet food, toys, drugs, and other exports.
According to Xinhua, “Food safety issues have become particularly sensitive in China since September last year after melamine-contaminated dairy products were found to have left at least six infants dead and sickened about 300,000 others”–some believe those numbers are likely much higher.
China’s Minister of Health has conducted risk assessment on food contaminants since the 1970s, according to Xinhua, which noted the country intensified its food safety risk assessment on microbiology, chemical contaminants and other additives after the country’s adoption into the World Trade Organization (WTO).