Chinese authorities on Thursday stressed the need to ensure food safety ahead of China's Spring Festival holiday. In a joint press conference, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the China Food and Drug Administration promised to take various approaches, including strengthening supervision and spot-checking supplies, to guarantee safe food for the public. Authorities will carry out checks in major retail markets and restaurants, and those found violating safety standards will be punished accordingly, according to the conference. Avoiding the illegal use of highly toxic pesticides, antibiotics and harmful additives in farm produce and animal products will be a major task, said Ma Aiguo with the Ministry of Agriculture. "Farm produce is generally safe... but risks remain and our tasks are arduous," said Ma. The stress on food safety came as recurrent headline-making scandals in recent years have undermined public confidence. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Supervision said eight suspects involved in five food safety incidents have been transferred to judicial organs and another 46 officials have been punished for neglect of duty. In one case, more than 25,000 kg of pork from sick pigs was purchased, cooked and sold by vendors in east China's Anhui Province, with a sales value of 80,000 yuan (13,114 U.S. dollars).