A Chinese man carrying two boxes of tainted milk formula for refunds in 2008 when more than 6,000 babies were affected. Photo: AP

Home kit to test food for toxins could be on sale soon in China

Food safety kit can yield results in a matter of minutes

A home testing kit to help consumers identify toxins in food has been developed in China.

Scientists at Tianjin University of Science and Technology in northern China have created a food safety testing system that can yield results in a matter of minutes.

The food testing indicator paper is expected to hit the Chinese market soon and will help consumers identify food products contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and excessive drug residues, according to Xinhua.

During tests, the paper was found to change colour to suggest over 60 varieties of chemical factors in food samples during lab research conducted at university.

Professor Wang Shuo, deputy principal of the university, said food safety testing usually requires complex testing machines and procedures in labouratories. With this test paper, however, certain harmful substances can be identified in a few minutes.

From contaminated milk to chickens fed with excessive amounts of antibiotics and hormones, a spate of food scandals has sparked fear in China.

Wang said the research team has obtained 13 national patents for the test paper, and is working on further research to lower the production cost of the paper to make it more affordable for ordinary consumers. He did not disclose the possible price of the paper.