BEIJING (AP): China said Monday it had boosted inspections of agriculture products nationwide in a bid to cut the use of banned pesticides and the overuse of animal feed additives and fertilizers.
Ten people have been arrested and almost 100 offending companies shut down since August, Vice Minister of Agriculture Gao Hongbin said.
Gao said the ministry was "targeting 100 percent surveillance of large and medium-sized cities'' in the hunt for illegal pesticides and feed additives.
China's food chain is tainted at many levels by the overuse of pesticides and additives.
While the problem has been common in China for years, it aroused international concern this year because of complaints about tainted Chinese exports, such as farmed fish in which U.S. and European authorities have found high doses of a carcinogenic antibiotic.
Gao said authorities were also "targeting the illegal production, sale and application of five types of pesticides.''
He said the ministry was attaching great importance to agricultural inspections.
There will also be random checks for pesticide residue in agriculture products.
Gao said that since the inspection program was launched last month 10 people have been arrested and 95 companies without appropriate licenses have been shut while the business licenses of another six companies were revoked.