Police raids root out tainted food producers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2011, 12:00am

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Large quantities of substandard foods made with dangerous additives have been seized in joint raids in Hunan, Shanghai, Fujian and Jiangxi since late August, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Police in Changsha, Hunan, said 96 people were facing criminal charges after an investigation into the production of substandard food, valued at 22.8 million yuan (HK$27.8 million), that included dried tofu sticks and cellophane noodles.

Police found 273 locations used for producing, storing and selling the food, which was laced with excessive amounts of substances such as borax (a detergent additive), sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate (a cancer-causing industrial bleach) and hexamethylene tetramine (a preservative).

After a raid on a beancurd mill in Langli in Changsha county police discovered that the substances were being used to improve the texture and appearance of its dried tofu. More than 43 tonnes of substandard food has been found in the county.

The owner, Liao Daizhao, reportedly made 11 million yuan over the past three years from sales of the tainted products.

Police also detained the additives supplier, who was found to have sold the chemicals to kimchi processors in Yichun, Jiangxi, and noodle makers in Loudi, Hunan.

The raids have again highlighted the mainland's poor food safety record.