Last week, U.S. and Chinese health officials began a series of food- and drug-safety discussions, which will take place in Beijing. The goal, at least with U.S. officials is to reach 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,"said Mike Leavitt,  Secretary of Health and Human Services. "I am hopeful that we can achieve two strong, action-oriented documents by December."

The meeting participants will focus on food and feed safety as well as the safety of drugs and medical devices from China. Certainly other issues that have surfaced this year, such as toothpaste, tire and toy safety will get some consideration as well.

U.S. HHS Chief of Staff Rich McKeown, is leading the talks. The follows meetings conducted with Chinese officials in Washington in May when U.S. officials asked for better coordination, better information and enforced regulations that instill confidence in Chinese product safety.

Leavitt said information from these meetings will be considered as the White House's newly formed Working Group on Import Safety will present a report the President next month.

Source: Health and Human Services,