Countries exporting food must ensure its quality or else risk facing the kind of fears afflicting China over the quality of some of the food it ships abroad, a UN health agency official said Tuesday.
Shigeru Omi, the regional director for the Western Pacific for the World Health Organisation (WHO), warned that countries which failed to monitor food export quality would hurt their economies.
"In the long-run, it will undermine the reputation of the economy. Other countries should take lessons from this one," he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on climate change and health in Asia.
The United States last week added farm-raised fish and shrimp to its growing list of Chinese products deemed unsafe for US consumers.
Reports of problems with other Chinese goods has put the spotlight on the quality of China's exports generally.
Omi said food exporting countries must adopt self-regulation by introducing tough laws and efficient law enforcement agencies.
"There is a need to establish tough laws. Along with it comes monitoring and law enforcement. This is essential," he said.
Omi urged manufacturers and producers not to place profits above health.
"Global trade brings a lot of benefits. It also brings risks like this. We cannot be talking about money only. If we do ... the economy and the people will suffer."