Health officials from the United States and China have begun a series of meetings to discuss food- and drug-safety meetings. The meetings will be held in Beijing, with the goal of reaching specific agreements by this December.

Specifically, the officials will discuss food and feed safety, along with safety issues and standards associated with drugs and medical devices produced in and imported from China.

"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," said Mike Leavitt, Health and Human Services secretary, in a statement released on Tuesday.

These new talks follow meetings with Chinese officials held in Washington in May. At that time, U.S. officials asked for better coordination, better information and enforced regulations in order to regain and instill confidence in the safety of Chinese products.

This past year, tainted products from China, including pet food, toothpaste, seafood and even tires have escalated concern in Washington and in other countries around the world.

The White House created a Working Group on Import Safety, which will present a report to President Bush, with recommendations, in September. According to Leavitt, information from this week's talks will feed into the group's recommendations.

Source: Meatingplace.com