The US is planning to adapt Japan’s policies concerning Chinese food imports. Japan imports 60% of its food supply, with approximately 15% coming from China. According to the Japanese health ministry, government and private laboratories test samples from about 10% of all incoming food shipments, since a 2002 scare involving pesticides in Chinese-grown spinach. Japan tested 203,001 samples of food last year and found 1,515 samples that did not meet Japanese standards. A third of these violations—the highest number from a single source—were generated by products imported from China. One of two Japanese national food inspection centers in Yokohama tested more than 30,000 food samples last year. Last year, Japan introduced a new system for regulating Chinese food imports under which licenses are granted to Chinese producers to export to Japan but the companies are required to maintain Japanese standards. In addition, the licensed producers must grow their products only on their own plots of land and are not permitted to buy from other producers. The system is currently being used only for spinach, but will be extended to other food imports. The US only imports roughly 10% of its food, but tests less than 1% of its

food shipments.

Source: International Herald Tribune

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