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Asia steps up oversight of food from China

CHINA - China's Asian neighbors are raising concerns about the safety of food from China and taking actions including increased inspections and banning imports from the country.

In Hong Kong, which, as a "special administrative region" is substantially autonomous from China, hen-egg imports were temporarily suspended last year. Officials had become concerned that potentially cancer-causing Sudan dyes -- synthetic chemical dyes used for coloring hydrocarbon solvents, oils, fats, waxes and plastics -- were used in Chinese poultry feed to enhance yolk color.

Imports of freshwater fish and turbot were suspended because of contamination with malachite green, a potentially cancer-causing chemical used in aquaculture as an antifungal agent.

After a bird-flu case was found in the nearby Chinese city of Shenzhen, imports of live poultry, day-old chicks and pet birds were suspended for 21 days.

Japan inspects 40 types of food from China, more than imports from any other country.

And the 67-member Asian Development Bank, which provides loans and assistance aimed at reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific, cited "an urgent need to address numerous problems" in China's food-safety-management system in a report issued last year and revised in January.

Source: The Washington Times

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