CHINA - The Ministry of Agriculture has published a five-year plan to improve the quality of agricultural products, including measures to ensure that products such as apples, tea and pork can be traced back to their producers.
According to the ministry's plan, which was made public on Monday, more than 97 per cent of major agricultural products involved in routine monitoring will pass quality tests in the next five years.
In 2015, 96.1 per cent of vegetables, 99.4 per cent of poultry and livestock, and 95.5 per cent of aquatic products passed routine quality tests, the ministry said.
The ministry will also speed up the development of a platform that can trace agricultural products to their origin, according to the plan.
The tracing platform will first be implemented in more developed areas, and for products such as raw milk and turbot, it added.
The government will also encourage nongovernmental organizations to supervise the quality of agricultural products, with a mechanism that encourages whistleblowing set to be established.
Chen Xiaohua, vice-minister of agriculture, told a news conference in December that the platform that traces agricultural products to their origin has already been in test operation in some areas.
He added that the top legislature is now mulling a revision to the Law on Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products, which is expected to include items on ensuring that agricultural products can be traceable.
The ministry said there are still issues involving pesticide residue and environmental pollution in the places of origin of agricultural products.
"The public's demand for agricultural products has also shifted from merely filling stomachs to a need for good, safe and nutritious products," it said.
Han Changfu, minister of agriculture, said on the sidelines of the two sessions - the annual gatherings of the nation's top legislature and its top political advisory body - in Beijing on March 8 that the country will launch a campaign to curb diseases at livestock and poultry farms to fight pollution in rural areas.
The excessive use of fertilizers in horticultural sectors, such as the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, will also be targeted as the authority tries to increase the use of organic fertilizers, Han added.
In the past five years, the ministry has already set 4,140 standards for pesticide residue in relation to agricultural products, and another 1,584 standards for veterinary drug residue in relation to livestock and poultry products.
The total number of standards for residue levels for the two categories will reach 10,000 in five years, according to the plan.
TheCattleSite News Desk