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China Bans Foreign Food, Cosmetic Products Over Safety Concerns

by VR Sreeraman on August 28, 2010 at 4:56 PM
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 China Bans Foreign Food, Cosmetic Products Over Safety Concerns

China's quality watchdog has destroyed or blocked the import of a wide range of foreign food and cosmetic products amid concerns that they posed potential health risks, it announced on its website.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) this week published blacklists of products from a number of nations including the United States, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand.

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All of the products imported in April and May -- including milk powder, jam, chocolate and bath products -- "have been returned, destroyed or converted to other uses" and "were not sold in the domestic market", AQSIQ said.

The safety watchdog did not specify what the "other uses" were.

US food giant General Mills was singled out after its corn muffin powder, pancake powder and cake flour were found to have genetically modified contents or excessive aluminium, the agency said.
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Other companies named included South Korea's Lotte, US group Kraft Foods and Britain's Marks and Spencer, according to the statements.

China is regularly hit by product safety scandals, mainly involving domestically made items, despite government pledges to clean up the food industry.

In 2008, the industrial chemical melamine was found in the products of 22 Chinese dairy companies in a massive scandal blamed for the deaths of at least six infants and for making 300,000 others sick in China.

China's government has repeatedly said all tainted milk products were seized and destroyed after the scandal and that there was no further public health threat, but reports of contaminated products continue to trickle out.

Earlier this month, China's health ministry refuted claims that milk powder produced by the NASDAQ-listed Chinese company Synutra had caused three infant girls to grow breasts.

Source: AFP
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