BEIJING (AP) — China has revoked food production licenses for hundreds of companies, including producers of rice and frozen foods, as part of a crackdown against unsafe manufacturing practices, a government agency said Tuesday.
Chinese food, drug and other exports ranging from toothpaste to seafood are under scrutiny because they have been found to contain potentially deadly substances.
One of China's major product safety watchdogs said in a statement posted Tuesday on its Web site that it had recently revoked the food production licenses of 564 Chinese companies.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the decision was part of a ''special campaign to ensure product quality and food safety and strengthen food safety supervision.'' It didn't say specifically when the licenses were canceled.
It named the three worst offenders, but did not give details of their violations. They were the Shijiazhuang Good Cook Food Factory, a monosodium glutamate factory in northern China's Hebei province, the Hefei Wanmaomao Quick-frozen Food Co. in Anhui province in the east, and Kaiping Shagang District Xinfengsheng Rice Factory in the southern Guangdong province.
The other companies had their food production licenses revoked because they were found to be manufacturing goods they weren't licensed to make, or because they had moved or were being renovated, it said.
After an initial reluctance, the government has launched an aggressive campaign to win back consumer confidence by issuing new regulations, cracking down on violators and setting up a Cabinet-level panel to monitor quality.