China Bans 17 Illegal Food Additives

by VR Sreeraman on  December 16, 2008 at 6:41 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
China Bans 17 Illegal Food Additives
China has banned 17 substances, some commonly used as disinfectants or insecticides, as food additives as part of a four-month safety campaign launched following a scandal over tainted milk.

Substances on a list published by the nation's health ministry include boric acid, a chemical used as an insecticide or flame retardant that is known to be added to noodles or the skin of dumplings to increase their elasticity.

Formaldehyde, applied to dried seafood to improve its appearance, but also commonly used as a disinfectant, was also on the list of banned substances, published on the ministry's website late on Monday.

The crackdown comes after six children in China may have died and a further 294,000 were sickened this year from drinking milk contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.

The chemical was added to watered-down milk to give it the appearance of high protein levels.

The milk scandal, which erupted in September, caused global concern with countries around the world banning or recalling China-made dairy products.

This prompted authorities to launch a four-month food safety campaign at the beginning of December to try and restore confidence in the made-in-China brand.

As part of the crackdown, the health ministry also on Monday published the names of additives that could easily be overused when added to food products.

But it warned the lists were not exhaustive.

"These lists... cannot cover all problems linked to illegally adding substances in food and abusing additives in the industry," it said in the online statement.

Source: AFP

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