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Mice to test athletes' food

November 16, 2006 14:50 IST
White mice will be used to test athletes' food at the 2008 Beijing Olympics to make sure it isn't poisoned, Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, the latest in a series of grandiose security measures.

China has gone out of its way to show it can hold a world-class event and protect the safety of the hundreds of thousands of athletes and spectators expected to attend.

"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," Zhao Xinsheng, of the Beijing Municipal Health Inspection Bureau, was quoted as saying.

He said mice would develop adverse reactions to poisoning within 17 hours, sooner than test methods like bacteria cultures.

Zhen Xiaozhen, of the medical team of the Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, said all the mostly Western food arriving at the Olympic restaurants would be monitored and recorded by control headquarters.

Food storage areas will be fitted with alarms, video cameras and fire controls, and kitchens guarded around the clock.

Beijing has trained a crack force of 150 police, experts in martial arts, counter-terrorism, riot control and kidnapping, for the Games.

Some police will get hotted-up squad cars and race training and an expanded video surveillance network will cover the city.

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