Another crackdown amid new scandals

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 April, 2011, 12:00am


As the mainland's ever expanding list of tainted foods grew to include hotpot, drinks and honey, the State Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency regulation on Thursday ordering a strict crackdown on the use of illegal food additives.

Restaurants preparing hotpot soup bases, drinks and condiments will have to report additives they use to the administration by the end of May, the Beijing Times reported yesterday. Restaurants were told to list additives on menus or display a list of them in a prominent position.

The administration has found restaurants adding poppy shells, poppy powder or industrial paraffin into condiments - sometimes in large quantities - the paper said.

The administration said it would make drinks and condiments part of regular restaurant inspections, while stepping up inspection frequency.

Administration chief Shao Mingli was quoted as saying that cracking down on the abuse of food additives was its top priority. The announcement came a week to the day after a State Council directive ordered local governments to crack down on additives used by food manufacturers.

Meanwhile, about three quarters of honey products in mainland markets maybe counterfeits, made with rice syrup, the Jinan Daily reported on Thursday, citing industry insiders. The paper said the mainland produced about 200,000 tonnes of honey every year, but had more than 800,000 tonnes on sale every year. It said producing 500 grams of honey cost at least 20 yuan (HK$23.85) but many 'honey' products were sold for just 10 yuan per 500 grams.

Meanwhile, 14 people have been jailed for selling milk powder tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, Xinhua reported yesterday.

At least six children died and nearly 300,000 fell ill in 2008 from consuming milk powder tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical added to milk to boost protein levels when undergoing inspections.

The authorities continue to find tainted milk powder on sale.

The sentences were handed down in Shanxi and Hebei provinces. Two of those convicted were jailed for life and four were jailed for between 10 and 15 years.