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US says China must improve food and drug safety

US health chief tells China to improve the safety of its food and drugs by the end of 2007

US health chief Mike Leavitt has said that China must improve the safety of its food and drugs, amid a series of international health scandals involving Chinese exports.

Leavitt stated: "Our US regulatory agencies are concerned about what they see as an insufficient infrastructure across the board in China to assure the safety, quality and effectiveness of many products exported to the US. We believe that with the technology, the scientific expertise, and the commitment each side has, we can work together to correct the outstanding issues. I am hopeful that we can achieve two strong, action-oriented documents by December."

US health officials were in Beijing, when Leavitt made his comments, as part of a series of bilateral meetings to come to an agreement over food and drug safety in the region.

China's international reputation regarding its food and drug exports has been damaged by US reports of tainted pet foods, dangerous toys, drugs and cosmetics and other products, which have led recalls and bans. Contaminated antibiotics also led to numerous death in China and other export destinations, resulting in the recent execution of the head of the Chinese equivalent of the FDA for taking bribes to approve dangerous drugs.

1st August 2007

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