U.S., China Meet for Food Safety Talks

The countries aim to reach agreements by December.

Health officials from the U.S. and China began a series of bilateral food and drug safety meetings Tuesday in Beijing, with hopes of reaching agreements by December.

"Our U.S. regulatory agencies are concerned about what they see as an insufficient infrastructure across the board in China to assure the safety, quality and effectiveness of many products exported to the United States. I am hopeful that we can achieve two strong, action-oriented documents by December," Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt said in a statement.

The officials will discuss food and feed safety as well as the safety of drugs and medical devices imported from China.

The talks, led by HHS Chief of Staff Rich McKeown, follow meetings with Chinese officials in Washington during May when U.S. officials asked for better coordination, better information and enforced regulations that instill confidence in Chinese product safety. Tainted products such as pet food, toothpaste and seafood from China have escalated concern in Washington.

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