Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang called for harsh punishments against food-safety violations as officials removed eggs that a shopper claimed were fake in southern China’s Guangzhou city.
Li said China faces a grave situation in ensuring food supplies are kept safe and authorities should take a proactive approach to deter violations, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late yesterday.
China will continue measures against criminal offenses in food scandals and seek to establish a long-term mechanism to check food safety in 2012, Li said at a meeting of the State Council’s food safety commission, which he leads, Xinhua said.
The measures would add to China’s crackdown on food safety since six babies died and 300,000 others were sickened by formula milk tainted with melamine in 2008, in the nation’s worst food-related incident. Last year, authorities found an unapproved additive in pork and excessive levels of a toxin in some milk products.
About 3,000 eggs were removed from a supermarket in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, after a shopper claimed that the ones he bought were fake and caused his son an upset stomach, China Daily said today.
Officials from the local industry and commerce bureau have sealed up the eggs and sent the samples for examination, the English-language newspaper said. The results are expected to be released before the weekend, according to the report.
Two calls to the industry and commerce bureau in Guangzhou weren’t answered.
Eggs may be faked using chemicals such as sodium alginate, China Daily said, citing Zhao Qiangzhong, an associate professor from the school of light industry and foods at South China University of Technology. While sodium alginate is edible, the chemical doesn’t contain the nutrition of real eggs, Zhao was cited as saying.
--Michael Wei. Editors: Shiyin Chen, Lena Lee
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