Watchdog's list of top 10 fake and substandard products comes amid increasing discontent over food and drug safety A top 10 list of substandard food cases for last year has been released by the state's quality watchdog, highlighting further threats to public health after revelations of similar problems with drug safety. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine highlighted the 10 cases of fake food manufacturing and sales on its website yesterday, exposing common irregularities in the industry. The list comes amid widespread public discontent over food and drug safety stirred up by corruption allegations against Zheng Xiaoyu, the former director of the State Food and Drug Administration, who is accused of selling drug manufacturing permits to pharmaceutical firms and accepting bribes for approving purchases of medical equipment. On January 24, Premier Wen Jiabao held a special State Council meeting on Zheng's case, and concluded the ex-director was 'in serious dereliction of duty, took advantage of his power to accept bribes, and protected and encouraged his family members and aides to engage in illegal activities'. The 10 food cases, chosen to represent the sector's main problems, range from the production and sale of substandard edible oil, alcohol, rice and powdered pepper to counterfeit brands, toxic ingredients and unsanitary production. In the worst case, a biological technology company touted the benefits of its 'silkworm amino acid', a so-called health product actually made from a mixture of pig blood and chicken feathers. Playing the persuasive cards of high technology and health care, the company earned nearly 100 million yuan from the product between July 2005 and April last year. The runner-up was a rice noodle plant in a rural area that used a banned additive containing potentially lethal formaldehyde to improve the weight, appearance and shelf life of its products. Coming in third was a counterfeit alcohol maker that pedalled its moonshine under the label of a well-known brand. Local authorities raided the operation last year, seizing 792 bottles of the alcohol with an estimated market value of 206,000 yuan from a workshop in a residential building. Ni Wenjie , a 35-year-old Beijing engineer, said the list showed unsafe food had penetrated almost every aspect of people's lives, which was not so much shocking as very sad news for mainland residents. 'I don't understand why food safety has not improved despite government pledges after the spate of food scares in recent years,' she said. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 144 food poisoning cases reported on the mainland in the fourth quarter of last year, up by a third on the corresponding period in 2005. More than 4,900 people fell sick, up 42 per cent year on year. Mainland academics have blamed the problem on a nebulous and inefficient food safety management system overseen by multiple government departments.