Imported foods blacklisted

08:44, August 27, 2010      

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A customer shops at an area specially dedicated to imported goods at a supermarket in Beijing in this June 19 photo. Photo: IC
China's top quality watchdog this week released the lists of substandard imported foods and cosmetics from April and May, blacklisting products by brands such as South Korea's Lotte and the US' General Mills, further damaging the already questionable image of some imported goods.

Almost 300 batches of foreign foods and cosmetics imported from countries such as South Korea, the United States, New Zealand and Japan, covering a wide range of products such as dairy products, honey, chocolate, biscuits and jam, were blocked from entering China or destroyed because they failed to meet quality standards, according to the two lists released Monday and Wednesday by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

General Mills products appeared on the blacklist for both months. Two batches of its cake flour, one batch of corn-muffin powder and one batch of pancake power have been returned after being found to contain excessive aluminum. General Mills is famous for its Haagen- Dazs ice cream.

On the May list, a batch of Gerber mixed-grain cereal, made by US-based Unified Western Grocers, Inc, was destroyed for containing excessive enterobacter sakazakii, which can trigger meningitis and intestinal colitis, with a mortality rate of more than 50 percent, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

The AQSIQ stressed on its official website that all these imported foods and cosmetics on the blacklist have been returned, destroyed or converted to other use and did not enter the domestic market.

However, the AQSIO did not elaborate what "other use" means, or how it could ensure that those products are really returned or destroyed without entering the Chinesemarket.

An employee with the marketing department at the Shenzhen-based Youshiai Commercial and Trade Company, which imported a batch of puffed popcorn from General Mills Sales Inc, confirmed to the Global Times that "the food has been returned for substandard quality."

Thanks to rising incomes and an expanding urban middle class, China is now flooded with imported food. From cheese from Australia and chocolate from South Korea, to chewing gum from the United States, imported food can be commonly found on supermarket shelves. And some Chinese consumers have higher expectations on imported food.

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