Beijing Reassures Food Supplies to City

CHINA & HONG KONG - The Chinese central government reassured Hong Kong, following pledges made by Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice-president Xi Jinping, that both the quality and quantity of food supplies to the city will be maintained at high standards as the Lunar New Year approaches.
calendar icon 13 January 2012
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The Ministry of Commerce, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and Guangdong province have drawn up timely plans and five measures to deliver the promise. They include active organization of food suppliers, contingency plans, prevention of epidemic outbreaks, reinforcement of service attitudes and a 24/7 coordination mechanism.

The agencies have been alerted by the recent avian flu outbreak in Hong Kong. As the ban was lifted on Thursday, the authorities have taken measures to prevent disruption to poultry supplies during the Chinese new year. Chilled chicken supply might increase depending on demand.

Zhong Shan, vice-minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative, led an official delegation to Hong Kong between 11 to 13 January to obtain a deeper understanding of the city's situation.

The delegation held meetings with Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung and other government agencies on food supplies from the mainland.

The delegation also paid visits to the Kowloon City wet market to get a closer look at pricing, origins and fresh food quality sold in local markets.

Given that food supplies is crucial to Hong Kong's livelihoods and stability, Zhong reassured that the central government always had a high regard of the issue to ensure the supply is stable in quantity and of high quality. Effective communications with the SAR government, sophisticated food processors on the mainland and strict border inspection have kept the gate well guarded.

The city had imported 2.46 million chickens, 1.46 million pigs and 28,700 cows from the mainland last year. According to tests conducted by Hong Kong, 99.999 per cent of all crops and processed food from the mainland passed the inspection.

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