Now dried fruit is hit by food scandal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 April, 2012, 12:00am


Preserved fruit is the latest addition to the mainland's expanding list of unsafe foods, after an investigation by state television found that some were processed in filthy factories and contained excessive additives.

Preserved peaches were found packed in bags that had been used to hold animal feed, and hawthorn berries were soaked in a pool of water that contained garbage.

The China Central Television report detailed illegal processes at 16 preserved-fruit companies, mostly from Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and some from Linyi, Shandong province.

Tests by a Beijing laboratory on samples bought from several of the Hangzhou companies showed they all contained excessive pigments, bleaching agents and preservatives, the report said.

At one manufacturer of preserved fruit in Hangzhou, the date on several hundred boxes of preserved fruit, which were ready for sale, was found to be marked as two weeks later than when they were packaged. At another company, the date was more than a month late.

Some of the illegally processed preserved fruit was destined for big supermarkets, including Wal-Mart and Tesco.

A sales clerk at an unidentified supermarket in Hangzhou's Tangqi town, where many fruit-processing factories are located, was quoted by CCTV as saying: 'Locals don't eat the preserved fruit. Maybe they know [how they're produced], so they avoid them.'

The Hangzhou Municipal Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau immediately launched an investigation into the factories.

In Linyi, two factories from Pingyi county that were mentioned in the report were shut down by local authorities, and one of the owners was detained on Tuesday night when the report aired, the local government said on its microblog account.

Shanghai Laiyifen, a preserved-foods retailer that is supplied from three of the processing factories mentioned in the CCTV report, said that samples had all passed third-party tests before the scandal broke.

It said it would assess its suppliers but did not say whether it would stop dealing with them.