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Bush Creates Safety Panel to Address Concerns Over Imports


The White House is creating a new safety panel to recommend steps to ensure the quality of food and other imports into the United States.

White House spokesman Tony Snow Wednesday denied that the move was "a slap at China." He said the government felt it was important to monitor products from all 150 countries that export food to the United States.

President Bush is expected make a statement on the formation of the high-level working group later Wednesday.

Li Yuanping, a Chinese official in charge of food quality control, told Chinese media that food safety experts from the United States and China will meet at the end of the month.

Li also told the Xinhua news agency that a larger percentage of Chinese food imports to the U.S. pass inspections than U.S. food exports to China.

China has blamed exaggerated foreign media reports for inflaming international concerns about the safety of its food imports.

Earlier in the week, China suspended pork and poultry imports from some U.S. suppliers after finding salmonella in chicken and growth agents and other additives in meat products.

China has recently acknowledged problems with fake, shoddy, or dangerous goods and has vowed to take action. Last week, it executed its food and drug agency head who was convicted of taking bribes to certify fake and substandard drugs.

Contaminated medicines from China have killed patients in Panama, and tainted pet food from China has killed pets in the U.S.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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