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China to increase safety checks over food, pharmaceuticals | Updated: 2013-12-31 14:48

China will increase safety checks on food products and crack down on shoddy pharmaceuticals next year as part of its stepped-up supervision over the food and drug sector.

Zhang Yong, head of the China Food and Drug Administration, said on Friday that authorities will strengthen supervision over dairy and meat products, cooking oil, liquor, food additives and children's foods next year.

The administration will launch special campaigns to ensure food safety in rural areas, rural-urban fringe zones, schools, small workshops and online stores, according to Zhang.

The official said authorities will crack down on the production and sale of shoddy pharmaceuticals, the illegal use of banned drugs in cosmetics and the illegal sale and manufacturing of medical instruments.

Official statistics show that food and drug supervision authorities handled nearly 300,000 cases related to food and drug safety in 2013.

Food and drug safety is a sore point for millions of Chinese consumers. The food and drug industry has been hit by a number of scandals in the past few years.

Public trust in domestic dairy companies was eroded in 2008, when melamine-tainted milk killed six infants and made thousands of others ill.

In a move to eradicate corruption in the purchase of pharmaceuticals, the National Health and Family Planning Commission issued a regulation on Friday saying records will be set up to blacklist pharmaceutical manufacturers and their agents if they are involved in commercial bribery.

According to the regulation, which will be effective starting March 1, 2014, pharmaceutical manufacturers' products will not be accepted by public hospitals or government-funded health institutions in the two years after they are blacklisted.

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