China to use mice to test safety of Olympians' food

BEIJING -- 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

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.