AN electronic food safety map produced by Shanghai's quality watchdog went online yesterday, providing a way for people to easily check whether local food producers have obtained licenses.

The map at http://t.cn/zWujfsQ lists a total of 1,833 food producers in the city that have acquired production licenses. People can find their addresses, the locations of their factories, their products, license numbers and when the licenses will expire.

There is also a search banner on the map, allowing people to search whether a producer has registered or not by typing its name.

Only a Chinese version is available at present.

The Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau said yesterday the map will be updated from time to time and its search function will also be improved in the future.

The responses from local residents are mixed.

"I think it is a good approach in cracking down on food scandals because the public now has easy access to check whether they (producers) are legal," said 31-year-old Chen Fei, who lives in Minhang District.

Jin Yong, a 28-year-old information technology worker, said the map is just for public relations and he said he wouldn't check it. He said he hopes authorities can do more such as stricter inspections and punishment to rein in the rampant irregularities in food production.

The bureau has also dispatched staff members to post notices at food production companies to stamp out irregularities in food production and food scandals. The notice lists practices banned in food production and a hotline number to encourage residents to report irregularities they find.

A survey released by the Shanghai Institute of Food and Drug Safety in late May shows more than 70 percent of Shanghai residents are concerned about domestically produced food.

The safety and quality of meat and dairy products worried local people the most, the survey said. The survey of 4,000 people in eight big cities like Shanghai and Beijing found more than 73 percent felt unsafe or very unsafe about food. Only 6.7 percent of people in the eight cities think domestic foods are becoming safer.

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