Public health officials in China announced yesterday their Ministry of Education and State Food and Drug Administration have jointly launched an eight-month campaign to promote food safety in school cafeterias.
The campaign will run from May to December 2010 and will promote food services certification, sanitation, worker health, dish washing, food processing, and will also look into food additives, official Chinese media reported yesterday.
In the new school food safety initiative, local school administrators have been ordered by the State Food and Drug Administration to look into food safety conditions of their cafeterias and make changes as necessary “to improve food standards and ensure the health of students,” according to state media.
The announcement comes as China is working to improve its oversight of food safety and quality in the wake of several high-profile food scandals, many involving toxic dairy products.
In April, bacteria-packed milk was blamed for making 200 middle and primary school students in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province ill. Earlier this year, Chinese officials discovered approximately 170 tons of melamine-tainted milk products in commerce, reigniting fears about widespread economic adulteration in the dairy industry.
The nationwide crackdown on food safety–especially in the dairy industry–was largely set off by the 2008 dairy melamine scandal, which killed six infants and sickened over 300,000.
In another move to strengthen food regulation, earlier this month stricter and more specific regulations for catering services went into effect as part of China’s updated food safety law.
According to the State Food and Drug Administration, the new regulations clarify the punishments on violations to food safety laws governing catering services and protect “the rights and interests of the consumers.”
See recent Food Safety News coverage of food safety in China:
Pulverized Lime Found in Chinese Flour April 10, 2010
Hong Kong Finds Dye, Pathogen, AOZ in Food April 2, 2010
Chinese Cooking Oil Found Contaminated March 22, 2010
China Rescinds H1N1 Ban on US Pork March 21, 2010