'Vampire drinks' banned by China’s food safety authority

Made to look like blood, the fruity beverages can no longer sink their teeth into the Chinese market, according to the government

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 5:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 12:28pm

China’s food safety authority has banned an eye-catching beverage after its distinctive packaging, which looks like a medical blood bag, attracted many young consumers.

The red fruit punch, made to look like human blood through its creative plastic packaging, is being sold by novelty-drinks vendors and online shops.

Drinking it would seem like a scene out of a vampire film, where the immortal undead could sip on human blood as if it were a soft drink.

However, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has thrown cold water on this fantasy.

On Monday, it issued a ban on the sales of all “vampire drink-like products”, saying they posed considerable food safety concerns due to the lack of permits or labelling information.

It ordered online shopping platforms to suspend all vendors selling the drinks.

In a statement released on its website, the CFDA said the products lacked any official manufacturing permits and the packages did not state production dates, safety certificates or the names of producers.

The vampire drinks' names and labels appear to resemble that of Blood Energy Potion, a beverage produced by California, United States-based company Harcos.

The drink was first released to the US market in 2009. “Staying with the theme of bringing pop culture to life, Blood Energy Potion satiated all vampire fans with a delicious fruit punch flavour,” Harcos said on its website.

But a spokeswoman from Harcos denied the company is aware of the drink and its similar products are sold in China. “We do not directly sell our products to any companies in China nor have we authorized any agencies to sell the product,” she wrote in an email reply to South China Morning Post.

In addition, she said “the energy drinks are tested and approved by the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration].”

“Imported beverages without prior examinations and permissions from food safety authorities are illegal ... regardless whether they are legitimate to sell in other countries," a director of the Shanghai Food Research Institute said in a telephone interview.

Despite the ban, the “vampire drinks” were still available in dozens of small vendors as of 12pm today on popular shopping site Taobao.com.

The drinks come in various colors and cost between 8 yuan (HK$10) and 58 yuan. Transaction records tracked by Taobao showed one store had sold 9,400 units.

Flashy posters of hit vampire television shows such as The Vampire Diaries or the classic film Interview with the Vampire are featured on the vendors’ sites to promote the drinks.

Other online websites were set up solely to sell the blood-bag-like packages.