|Xi calls for "strictest" food safety measures|
President Xi Jinping has underscored the need to implement the "strictest" measures to ensure food safety.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks in an instruction published Thursday.
Noting the impact that food safety has on people's livelihoods and public confidence in the government, Xi called on all authorities to perform their due duty with the people at the forefront of all work.
The reputation of food safety in China is grave, Xi said, adding that there needs to be a more unified, authoritative supervision system as well as supporting regulations.
He said the strongest measures were needed, featuring rigorous standards, strict supervision, serious punishments and an authoritative accountability system.
In a separate instruction, Premier Li Keqiang pledged "zero tolerance" to food safety violations, promising timely and harsh punishment for guilty parties.
He urged government agencies to continue tackling the big issues related to food safety and to remember that the interests of the people were their top priority.
Li also stressed reform and adherence to rule of law in this regard.
The food safety supervision system, Li said, should cover the whole food production process, "from farm to table."
The State Council Food Safety Commission held its third plenary meeting on Thursday. The meeting was presided over by Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, who also heads the commission.
Zhang said supply-side structural reform is needed to improve food safety.
He pledged resolute efforts to implement the requirements by the president and the premier, and to establish a food safety management system and improve supervision.
In addition, Zhang demanded more attention be given to excessive residues of pesticides and veterinary drugs, as well as to heavy metal pollution in soil and additives in foods.
Food enterprises must be held accountable, he added, saying to this end a better system is needed to track safety risks and problems with key food products.
Moreover, government agencies are told to improve and increase inspections to identify risks and foul play.
China's food safety standards should suit both the country's realistic situation and international criteria, which require heavy-handed measures to deter violations, Zhang said.
Calling food safety work a "sacred political duty" for the CPC and the government, the vice premier called for better supervision to ensure this work is properly done, so those guilty of dereliction of duty are held accountable.
He also underlined food safety particularly during the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.
Vice Premier Wang Yang also attended Thursday's meeting.