CHINA: Government extends food-tracking project
Posted: July 31st, 2011 - 1:35pm
Source: China Daily
BEIJING -- The Ministry of Commerce has expanded a pilot meat and vegetable tracking system to 10 more cities on Friday, aiming to improve food safety.
Officials from the ministry signed cooperative agreements with senior government officials from 10 cities including Harbin, Jinan and Urumqi on Friday, to start the second phase of a pilot project for a meat and vegetable tracking system.
The ministry started the first-phase pilot of the system in October 2010 in 10 cities, including Shanghai and Dalian. The system will allow consumers to check the provenance of meat and vegetables by the use of bar codes on the products once the system is in place.
The system will standardize the transportation of meat and vegetables, two key agricultural products, and will lead to changes in the current system to provide a higher standard of food safety.
"The tracking system will boost the development of modern transportation of agricultural produce with electronic commerce. Transportation is an important factor in the price fluctuations of agricultural products," Jiang Zengwei, vice-minister of commerce, said at a news conference on Friday.
"By the end of the year, the tracking system piloted in the first 10 cities will be put into full use. By the end of the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), the tracking system should cover the transportation of meat and vegetables across the country and will be expanded to other areas such as fruit and marine products on a step-by-step basis," Jiang said.
Approximately 80 percent of meat and vegetables in the larger cities are produced in rural areas, while more than 80 percent of the transportation is done through wholesale markets. The first-phase of the system now covers 176 slaughterhouses, 100 large wholesale markets, more than 3,000 food markets, 1,400 supermarkets and more than 4,400 bulk buyers in the 10 pilot cities.