China to use mice to test food for Olympic athletes

China will use mice to test the safety of food for athletes competing in the 2008 Olympic Games, state media said 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 safety 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.

He said all the food would be securely stored, and all food arriving at the Olympic restaurants would be recorded by the control headquarters after being transported by special vehicles and staff, reports AP.

Zhen Xiaozhen, of the medical team of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, told the same 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 techniques of Western food starting this month, said Liang Jin of the inspection bureau.

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