BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- China will invest 8.8 billion yuan (around 1.2 billion U.S. dollars) to improve food and drug supervision, China's food and drug watchdog announced on Wednesday.
"Of the investment, 6.3 billion will come from the central government and the rest from the local government," said Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) at a regular press conference on Wednesday.
"China's food and drug supervision work began late and its foundations are weak," she said.
"The current infrastructure and technology of China's food and drug supervision system lags behind what is expected, especially in China's western regions," Yan said.
"With this investment, China will comprehensively improve the infrastructure and technology for food and drug administration in three to five years," said Yan.
Yan listed several projects for which the investment will be used, including the renovation of 16 testing centers of imported drugs, renovation of the National Center for Medical Devices Testing and relocation of the National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products.
Yan said the SFDA designated 16 local drug inspection offices to test imported drugs, but 16 offices are still incapable of testing biological products.
According to Yan, the investment will also be used to improve the facilities of the local food and drug supervision bureaus in the western and central parts of China.
Yan also announced on Wednesday that the SFDA would hold regular press conferences every two weeks to brief the media on China's food security situation. During China's first regular press conference by China's food and drug watchdog on July 11, Yan admitted China's food and drug situation was unsatisfactory and vowed to improve it.
The Chinese government has been under great pressure to revamp the country's food and drug safety system following a series of incidents attributed to shoddy food and drug products and several bribery sandals involving high-ranking officials from the country's food and drug watchdog.