BEIJING (AP) _ Firing back over product safety fears, China's
Health Ministry accused foreign media Friday of exaggerating the
country's food purity problems, while a Chinese tire maker at the
centre of a huge U.S. recall accused the American importer of
While China faces ``severe challenges'' in ensuring food safety,
foreign media are playing up the problems and have ulterior motives,
Health Ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an told a news conference.
``The question of food safety is a problem the whole world
faces,'' Mao said.
``Foreign media are using irrelevant cases or just a few cases to
make the safety issue much bigger than it is and have linked this to
the success of hosting the Olympics'' next summer in Beijing, he
Mao's comments came as tire maker Hangzhou Zhongce leveled its
accusations at U.S. importer Foreign Tire Sales Inc., which
announced Thursday it would recall 255,000 tires it says are
defective because they lack a safety feature that prevents tread
The Union, N.J.-based company has been sued by the families of
two men killed when their van crashed in Pennsylvania in August
2006. The lawsuit says the van had tires made by China's Hangzhou
Zhongce Rubber Co.
Hangzhou Zhongce said the U.S. company has given three
conflicting accounts of the accident to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, which ordered a recall of as many as 450,000
tires in June.
``From these three different explanations of the same case, it's
clear that FTS is using nonexistent facts to mislead the public and
is trying to achieve commercial gain by getting people's sympathy,''
Hangzhou Zhongce said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated
According to the statement, the U.S. tire importer first blamed
the accident on a tire defect, but then said the van had three
Hangzhou Zhongce tires and one tire from another brand. Zhongce said
it was possible the other tire could have caused the crash.
On July 27, FTS noted that a police report said the accident
could have caused the tire damage found afterward, the statement
The U.S. importer ``distorted the facts and applied for a tire
recall with the NHTSA by using actions that were not objective,'' it
The Americans say the tires lack a gum strip, a key safety
feature that binds the belts of a tire to each other. Foreign Tire
Sales said that while some tires did have a gum strip, it was about
half the width the company expected.
Chinese regulators said last month they had determined the tires
met American safety standards.
Hangzhou Zhongce, China's second-biggest tire manufacturer, said
earlier it fully co-operated with NHTSA and found no evidence the
tires had any structural defects or lacked safety features.
Mao said the Health Ministry dealt with 111,226 cases of illegal
food production in 2006 while inspecting products including baby
food, health supplements and additives. Some 29,571 businesses were
shut down and 1,542.24 tonnes of goods were destroyed, he said.
The ministry has established a daily supervision and examination
system targeting small food producers and is monitoring 61 chemical
contaminants in 54 types of food, including Sudan Red dye and
formaldehyde, a preservative and an embalming fluid that has been
linked to cancer in humans, Mao said. He did not give details.