Report: China to use mice to test food for Olympic athletes

Thursday, November 16th 2006, 10:38 am
By: News On 6

BEIJING (AP) _ China will use mice to test the safety of food for athletes competing in the 2008 Olympic Games, state media reported Thursday.

``Milk, alcohol, salad, rice, oil, salt and seasonings will be tested by white mice 24 hours before they are used in cooking or served to athletes,'' Xinhua News Agency quoted Zhao Xinsheng of the Beijing Municipal Health Inspection Bureau as saying.

Zhao told a meeting on hygiene measures for the games that the mice would develop an adverse reaction to any food poisoning within 17 hours, sooner than test methods such as bacteria cultures.

China has seen a string of food poisoning incidents in recent months.

In October, more than 200 students and teachers fell ill at a school in southern China.

There have been at least eight other food poisoning incidents, but officials say they don't appear to be connected.

Zhen Xiaozhen, of the medical team of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, told the meeting that most of the food for the Olympic athletes would be Western style, complemented by Chinese dishes.

Health inspectors were to receive training in management and inspection of Western food preparation starting this month, said Liang Jin of the inspection bureau.