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China Declares War on Unsafe Foods for Soldiers

China has declared war on unsafe food for its 2.3 million soldiers, with the military to implement new safety measures following the recent spate of health scandals, state media reported on Friday.

Measures include weeding out fake or substandard food products and eliminating the common practice of several soldiers eating from the same plate, according to an announcement by the People's Liberation Army.

'To strengthen food safety is to guarantee the PLA's combat capacity,' the China Daily newspaper quoted Zhou Pengjun, a logistics official, as saying.

China has recently taken steps to improve safety for civilians amid regular reports of fake, shoddy or dangerous goods emanating from the nation's huge food and drug industry.

Buns filled with cardboard, toxic seafood, virus-plagued pigs and chemical-laden toothpaste are just some of the problems to have hit the headlines domestically and internationally.

China this week executed the former head of its food and drug safety watchdog for corruption, in what was widely seen as an attempt by the government to show it is serious in addressing the problem.

Friday's report said the PLA began phasing out the tradition of soldiers eating from common dishes following the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

'(However) non-combat forces and soldiers stationed in remote and mountainous areas still eat from a common dish,' the China Daily said.

Among the new measures, the army will monitor the supply chain providing food for the troops and raise hygiene standards among the outside food suppliers that provide 90 percent of the PLA's food.


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