BEIJING -- Food poisoning deaths in China rose by nearly one-third in 2007, the state-run news agency reported Sunday amid continuing scrutiny over the safety of the country's food production chain.
Citing figures from the Ministry of Health, Xinhua News Agency said 258 people were killed last year, up 32 percent from the previous year.
"Most of the fatal food poisoning incidents were caused by toxic seafood, meat and produce, " Xinhua said.
It said most cases happened in summer when higher temperatures made it easier for bacteria to grow.
The report said that while the number of deaths rose in 2007 overall cases of food poisoning fell to 506, 26 percent less than the previous year.
A series of food and product safety scandals last year involving domestic and exported foods, pushed the government to launch a series of measures to restore public confidence and boost supervision.
With the Beijing Olympic Games approaching in August, authorities have pledged to take rigorous measures to ensure food safety.