Information on the country's imports and exports including quality and quarantine standards, regulations and policies will be made available online in March, the authorities said yesterday.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, or AQSIQ, stated on its website, the move to strengthen standards and safety covers over 4,000 kinds of goods in 14 major categories and sub-categories.
The administration said: "As China's economy and trade with other countries develops rapidly, the amount of imports and exports has also increased greatly, making it an urgent task for quality inspection departments to ensure the safety of commodities and to safeguard the nation's image."
It continued: "The database aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the latest quality inspection and quarantine information worldwide, including quality and quarantine standards, regulations, and administrative procedures."
An English version of the database will follow in June.
It will help foreign enterprises and organizations understand China's quality inspection and quarantine policies and procedures, and familiarize themselves with the country's import and export goods
By the end of next September, the database will include information on more than 140 types of food products.
Wang Hong is the deputy director of AQSIQ's food production and supervision department. He said in an online interview yesterday: "Food safety issues are attracting increasing attention worldwide."
"It is a top concern for consumers and also a challenge the government must face.
"New technologies and materials have helped modernize food production but they have also triggered new problems, including safety issues regarding new ingredients, additives and packaging."
The State Council approved in principle a draft law on food safety last month, as a supplement to the existing Food Hygiene Law.
The draft law stipulates that imported food and additives must meet the country's national safety standards.
Meanwhile, food exports should satisfy the requirements set by importers and pass local entry inspections and quarantine.
At the end of August, China had 448,000 food production and processing companies, including 26,000 medium- and large-sized ones.
Following a number of recent investigations, other measures to improve food safety have been introduced, including upgrades to quality standards and tightening inspections.
1. Wang said that in addition to ensuring food quality, what is an urgent task?
2. The database will cover how many types of goods?
3. When will the database have an English version?
4. According to Wang, safety issues on which type of products are attracting increasing attention worldwide?
5. How many food production and processing companies did China have at the end of August?
1. Safeguarding the nation’s image.
3. In June.
（英语点津 Linda 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Jonathan Stewart is a media and journalism expert from the United States with four years of experience as a writer and instructor. He accepted a foreign expert position with chinadaily.com.cn in June 2007 following the completion of his Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Comparative Politics.