Archive for the ‘food quality’ Category

U.N. agencies weigh response to food crisis

April 28, 2008

GENEVA (Reuters) – Leading figures from the United Nations met in Switzerland on Monday to chart a solution to dramatic food price increases that have caused hunger, riots and hoarding in poor countries around the world.
Vietnam acted to quell panic over rice supplies on Monday, banning speculation in the market after a “chaotic” buying binge in the Southeast Asian nation highlighted growing global fears about food security. 
A Vietnamese rice paddy worker….

The move by the world’s second-biggest rice exporter came as protests continued in some states in Africa over soaring costs for food and fuel which aid experts say threaten to push 100 million people worldwide into hunger.

Against this backdrop, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gathered together the heads of 27 international agencies including the World Bank, World Food Programme and World Trade Organisation to coordinate a response.

Officials familiar with the closed-door session said the main priority was to ensure that food aid reached those desperately affected by surging prices of wheat, rice, dairy products and other dietary staples.

Ban, who has described rising food prices as a “global crisis” and urged world leaders to discuss ways to improve food distribution systems and production, will address the press in the Swiss capital Berne on Tuesday.

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon

Experts have linked the problems to factors including drought in Australia, higher fuel costs, the use of crops for biofuels and speculation on global commodity markets.

U.S. President George W. Bush is considering “what other aspects need to be taken care of” to help ease the crisis after announcing a $200 million increase in food aid earlier this month, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

“He’s really concerned about the humanitarian condition around the world,” she told reporters on Monday.

Meanwhile world aid groups continue to reel from the jump in food prices. World Vision, one of the globe’s largest humanitarian organizations, said it may have cut 1.5 million people, or 23 percent, from its aid program because of a strained budget.

“Despite our best efforts, more than a million of our beneficiaries are no longer receiving food aid,” said Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International. “At least a third of these are children who urgently need enough healthy food to thrive.”

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China’s Central Communist Government Even Regulating Pastry Shape?

January 7, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) – Thousands of Chinese snack vendors are happily digesting news that China‘s ubiquitous steamed bun, or “mantou,” does not have to be perfectly round.

China’s quality watch-dog denied that standards recommending a “perfect shape” for mantou held the force of law.

“There are no specific regulations on the shape of wheat-flour mantou in the standard,” the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said on its Web site.

“The episode offers something for the authorities to chew on — if the public was properly informed … such a situation may not have occurred at all,” an editorial in the China Daily said on Monday.

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China to launch food quality system

December 22, 2007

BEIJING, Dec. 22 (UPI) — China’s official quality control group said all food products must have a quality safety stamp before being released to the market beginning Jan. 1.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said all products must have the “Q.S.” label to gain market access, though proprietors may negotiate with sellers to keep products produced before the Jan. 1 implementation date on the shelves, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported Saturday.

China launched the market access labeling system in 2002, though the system lacked widespread execution.

The Chinese government initiated a four-month campaign to investigate poor quality food products starting in late August and closed a total of 192,000 unlicensed food stores and withdrew over 1,000 tons of substandard food from the market during the campaign.