Officials work to keep food poisoning out of Olympic village


  • Other Sport
  • Friday, 24 Nov 2006

BEIJING: From high-tech computer gadgets to low-tech food tasters – Olympic organisers are erecting an array of measures to keep toxic food off athletes’ tables during the 2008 Beijing Games. 

Food poisoning is a common hazard in China and outbreaks that sicken large numbers of people occur with alarming frequency. 

Officials want to ensure that tucking into a tasty meal is risk free for more than 10,000 athletes who will stay in China during the Aug 8-24 Games. 

To reduce the dangers, a high-tech surveillance system will trace the entire food supply chain from production and processing to delivery at the athletes village in Beijing, an official at the organising committee said. 

“To control the entire process ... we will have a system of electronic cards, food labels with computer chips, code systems as well as humidity and temperature controls and GPS systems on delivery trucks,” said Zhu Jing, a public relations official with the organising committee. 

White mice will also play a small but vital role as food tasters because they show up food contamination faster than laboratory tests, according to health officials here. 

All food as well as ingredients such as salt, pepper and spices will be fed to mice 24 hours before they are scheduled to be served in restaurants at the athletes’ village. 

Any adverse reaction to contamination will emerge within 17 hours, said Zhao Xinsheng of the Beijing Municipal Health Inspection Bureau. 

Outside the security cordon surrounding the athletes’ village, food safety in ordinary Beijing restaurants will also be under the microscope during the Games, city officials said. – AFP 

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