Last night's Lantern Festival may have been the last time mainland diners were able to enjoy the varied delights of 'un-standardised' sweet sticky rice dumplings. A mainland standardisation body has confirmed it is working on draft regulations requiring that all dumplings be 'white and perfectly round'. The airing of the idea follows a row on the mainland in January over a similar plan to regulate the shape of steamed buns. The new spat was touched off by reports that all sticky dumplings - called yuanxiao in the north and tangyuan in the south - would have to be uniformly white and round, under a set of production guidelines expected to take effect by December. The China General Chamber of Commerce in Beijing confirmed yesterday that it was trying to standardise dumplings but denied there were specific regulations on shape on the way. 'The draft of standardised dumplings is finished and expected to be submitted to the higher level before June, and mainlanders can enjoy standardised dumplings from next Lantern Festival,' a spokesman said. Mainland media reported that the draft contained recommendations on dumpling shape, colour, stuffing and packaging. 'Dumpling packages should stand out with Chinese culture and characteristics,' the reports quoted the proposal as saying. The spokesman said the guidelines were 'merely recommended criteria for making dumplings and do not have any legal onus'. He rejected suggestions that the potential regulations would trigger another controversy but did say that he had received hundreds of phone calls from reporters. But at least one shopper was unimpressed yesterday by the prospect of set rules for sticky dumplings. 'It's ridiculous to have specific regulations on dumplings. I will buy dumplings of any colour as long as they taste good,' Shenzhen resident Liu Xiaoling said as she stocked up on supplies for her Lantern Festival meal. Ms Liu urged authorities to focus on food safety rather than on such trivial matters as the shape and size of dumplings. Some manufacturers add colours to attract customers.