Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What the label "Made In China" May Mean To Your Health

Chinese regulators find widespread abuses in food industry
By David Barboza
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

SHANGHAI: After weeks of insisting that food here is largely safe, regulators in China said that they had recently closed 180 food plants and that inspectors had uncovered more than 23,000 food safety violations.

The nationwide crackdown, which began in December, also found that many small food makers were using industrial chemicals, dyes and other illegal ingredients in making a wide range of food products.

The government has moved aggressively in recent months to enforce food safety regulations and to crack down on fake and counterfeit foods amid a series of global scares involving Chinese food exports.

But the announcement Tuesday on the Web site of the country's top quality regulator, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, added fuel to concerns about rampant fraud in the food industry here.

Regulators said 33,000 law enforcement officials had combed the nation and turned up illegal food-making dens, counterfeit bottled water, fake soy sauce, banned food additives and illegal meat processing plants.

"These are not isolated cases," Han Yi, director of the administration's quality control and inspection department, told state-run news media.

China Daily, the country's English-language newspaper, said Wednesday that industrial chemicals, including dyes, mineral oils, paraffin wax, formaldehyde and malachite green, had been found in the production of candy, pickles, biscuits, and seafood.

...Last week, officials said a company in Anhui Province, not far from Shanghai, was selling a two-year-old rice dumpling mix as fresh, according to the state-controlled media.

...Tainted food ingredients also leeched into U.S. meat and fish supplies, and other problem foods, like tainted fish, have turned up in Europe and other parts of Asia.

China has strongly denied that its food exports are hazardous and has seemingly retaliated in recent weeks by seizing American and European imports.

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