China to tackle food safety as policy priority - Xinhua

China has promised to address food safety issues and modernise its agriculture as policy priorities this year, said the nation's 2015 agenda for rural matters on Sunday, Feb 1, 2015, according to state news agency Xinhua. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
China has promised to address food safety issues and modernise its agriculture as policy priorities this year, said the nation's 2015 agenda for rural matters on Sunday, Feb 1, 2015, according to state news agency Xinhua. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has promised to address food safety issues and modernise its agriculture as policy priorities this year, state news agency Xinhua quoted the nation's 2015 agenda for rural matters as saying on Sunday.

The 'number one document', issued every January by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, sets the country's policy priorities for the year, and has focused on rural matters every year since 2003.

Pollution from industrialisation has exacted a heavy toll on China’s soil and water. In May 2013, officials in Guangdong province in southern China said 44 percent of rice samples contained excessive levels of the metal cadmium. A study by the Ministry of Environmental Protection last April estimated that 16.1 percent of China’s soil was contaminated.

In parts of the country, soil pollution is so bad that some rice farmers refuse to eat what they grow.