Special Report: The 7th Asia-Europe Meeting
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks at a press conference at the end of the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Beijing, Oct. 25, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao promised on Saturday to toughen supervision on food safety after the
latest milk powder scandal.
"Not only relevant companies were responsible for the
scandal, but the government should also be held responsible for lax
supervision," Wen said at a press conference at the end of the seventh
China would earnestly deal with the scandal and
punish both those who were directly involved in the case and officials who were
responsible, he said.
The Chinese government would earnestly draw lessons
from the scandal and ensure "effective and forceful" supervision on the
production, transportation and processing of food, he added.
In the tainted dairy products scandal, melamine,
often used in the manufacture of plastics, was added to substandard or diluted
milk to make protein levels appear higher. At least three infants died and more
than 50,000 were sickened after prolonged drinking of the contaminated milk.
After the incident, the Chinese government quickly
enacted regulations to intensify supervision and management of the dairy
industry to ensure safety, he said.
China's top legislature began reviewing a draft law
on food safety earlier this week, which sets stricter food quality standards and
demands greater government responsibility, he added.
The draft, which was revised after the scandal, would
ban all chemicals and materials other than authorized additives in food
"The Chinese government attaches great importance to
food safety because it is not only in the interest of the Chinese but also
people in the world," he said.
"In the future, our food safety criteria will not
only meet the international standard but that of the importer of our products,"
Wen admitted it was "tough" for the country to
overcome current difficulties to ensure safe and healthy food production.
He said, however, as a big country with a 1.3 billion
population, China has the determination to march "an important step" forward in
terms of food security.
"We will gain the trust of the Chinese and people in
the world via our behaviors and quality of our products," he said.