Two juice plants halt production after 'rotten fruit' report

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 September, 2013, 8:18pm

Two fruit juice companies have been ordered to suspend production to assist an investigation after a media report that they had used rotten or unripe fruit in their products.

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) branch in Dangshan county in Anhui province on Monday inspected production sites of Anhui Dangshan Haisheng Fruit Juice, a subsidiary of Shaanxi Haisheng Fresh Fruit Juice, and Wanbei Fruit Juice, of the Beijing Huiyuan Group, and found no stocks of rotten fruit, according to an agency statement.

The two plants were nonetheless ordered to stop production for "self-examination" and help in the investigation. Product samples were taken for tests.

The probe came after the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Monday that the two companies in Dangshan county collected rotten fruit from farmers as raw material.

The report also cited a branch of Yantai North Andre Juice in Jiangsu province and a branch of Beijing Huiyuan in Shandong province as carrying out similar practices.

Shandong Huiyuan has not produced any juice since December last year and the Jiangsu branch of Andre Juice did not produce any juice on Monday.

The CFDA said the administration "attached great importance" to the report and ordered food safety supervision authorities in Anhui, Jiangsu and Shandong to investigate the claims immediately.

Dangshan, well known for its pears, suffered a cold spell earlier this year and a tornado in July that affected production, damaging more than 40 per cent of fruit.

According to the report, farmers sold rotten and poor-quality pears and apples to fruit distribution centres, which in turn sold them to the Huiyuan and Haisheng branches. Good quality fruit went on sale in markets, according to the report.

Huiyuan group denied using rotten fruit, saying all its stock was checked and production was in accordance with national standards.