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China food safety

Chinese authorities recall thousands of tonnes of ‘stinky feet salt’

Products linked to three producers had been distributed to retailers in major cities nationwide

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 May, 2017, 7:32am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 May, 2017, 7:32am

Thousands of tonnes of substandard salt known dubbed “stinky feet salt” have being recalled across China after three manufacturers were suspended from production.

State broadcaster CCTV reported on Saturday that national administrations overseeing public health, industries as well as reform and development had impounded stock from three manufacturers in Henan province while investigations were carried out.

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The offending salt releases a foul smell after it is rubbed slightly.

The latest food scandal sparked widespread concern after the salt was distributed to a number of provinces including affluent Guangdong.

The production and distribution of salt has been state controlled since the Han dynasty, more than 2,000 years ago.

According to the Yangcheng Evening News, Guangdong authorities found nearly 280 tonnes of the substandard salt in 13 cities including Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Dongguan.

An emergency food safety alert has been activated in Guangdong in response to the crisis.

It was reported that the substandard salt came from three manufacturers – the Pingdingshan Shenying Salt Industry, China Salt Haolong and China Salt Wuyang. They are retailed as 400g bags of Daiyanren brand salt, 500g bags of Yuying brand extra-iodine rock salt and 400g bags of Xijijiuzhen extra iodine salt.

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Shenying Salt Industry pledged to recall 7,000 tonnes of their product this week after the salt scandal came into light.

The Sanqin Metropolis Daily reported that the strong odour from the salt came from an “extremely small” amount of organic compounds in the rock salt mineral beds, citing the Henan salt authority.

Despite its pungent odour, the salt has yet to be proven harmful for human consumption, according to the report.

The Southern Metropolis Daily reported that the odour could be the result of sub-standard production that fails to purify the raw salt.

Pingdingshan Shenying Salt Industry said in statement that circulated on mainland social media last week that “a series of inaccurate media reports” had deliberately tainted the company’s reputation.

China ordered an industry-wide overhaul of salt production early this year.

In January, a massive illegal business that produced fake branded sauces and flavourings using recycled spices and industrial-grade salt was uncovered in Tianjin.

The fake condiments were sold across the country under well-known domestic and international brand names including Knorr, Nestle, Lee Kum Kee and Wang Shouyi.