A tissue of falsehoods? Why China’s paper towel makers may be letting down customers

Quality standards inspectors find banned materials, high levels of bacteria and misleading claims on packaging

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 November, 2017, 7:15pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 November, 2017, 10:46pm

Over a third of table tissues and nearly 10 per cent of toilet paper being sold in Chinese markets do not meet minimum standards, state television reported on Sunday.

A survey by Jiangsu province’s quality inspection authority also found that many table tissue packs contained fewer tissues than the packaging claimed and were made of recycled fibre, a banned material, China Central Television reported.

Some of them also failed in wet tensile tests, meaning they would split while wiping a wet mouth.

The major problem for toilet paper was the levels of bacteria found in unopened packs, with the worst product sampled containing four times the permitted amount.

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The survey sampled 88 batches of table tissues and 74 batches of toilet paper, finding that 28 of the former and seven of the latter did not meet requirements.

One table tissue brand claimed to contain 500 tissues, but the report said there were only 132 in the pack.

Some of the poor-quality tissues also contained a harmful whitening agent.

One official said that making paper pulp with this material allowed manufacturers to save 2,000 (US$3000) yuan per tonne compared with prime pulp.

The worst quality paper mostly came from wholesale markets, the report said. More than 60 per cent of the tissues bought there failed to meet standards.

A trader at one unnamed market said that the wholesale price of tissues could be as low as 75 yuan for 80 packs of tissues – less than one yuan per packet.