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'Bon appetit' to latest food safety report

    There were two outbreaks of mass food poisoning last year affecting 43 people, the lowest figure since 2006, according to the annual food safety report released yesterday.

    The two cases happened in June and August, and were both caused by a gastrointestinal bug. No deaths were reported and the rate of mass food poisoning fell to 0.18 cases per 100,000 people.

    Nearly 98 percent of food in local markets met quality standard last year, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from 2017. Authorities carried out random checks on 16,000 samples with a pass rate of 97.8 percent.

    Major problems found included cadmium in sea crabs, plasticizer in edible vegetable oil, pesticide residue on vegetables and detergent residue on tableware.

    Pollutant checks on 21,500 samples found problems with microorganisms, additives, hormones, antibiotics and veterinary drug residue.

    Authorities received 123,000 complaints, reports or calls, a decrease of 6 percent from 2017.

    Authorities managed more than 20 campaigns against problems like gutter oil, scams and unlicensed eateries. More than 35,000 licenses were revoked, and 7,000 food safety violations punished with fines of over 137 million yuan (US$20.4 million).

    Police handled 108 food safety cases and caught 260 suspects. Cases included counterfeit brands, expired food and beef with clenbuterol.

    More than 90 percent of residents thought food in markets and restaurants was “very” or “relatively” safe, up 5.3 percentage points. The top three worries were food poisoning, spoiled food and pesticide residue.