Four out of five bottles of Inner Mongolia's specialty milk wine on sale contain powdered creamer instead of fresh cow's milk, an investigation has discovered.
This contravenes national standards and has damaged the reputation of the beverage, China National Radio reported yesterday.
Illegal producers in China's Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region cut costs by using edible alcohol and base liquor as raw materials and adding creamers, edible creams and fragrance, said the report.
The resulting product makes up around 80 percent of total output.
Under a 2009 standard, making milk wines requires blending liquor with fresh milk or whey before undergoing fermentation, the report said.
However, despite the difference in ingredients, fake milk wines taste similar to the genuine product, said Deng Zhao, an employee with an alcohol company in Chifeng City in Inner Mongolia.
Deng said the factory price of fake milk wines was less than 20 yuan (US$3.17) per liter, and it could sell for twice that on the market.
It is also reported that the alcohol content of fake milk wines is 40 percent proof - compared to 18 percent or less in the genuine article.
Many alcohol companies in Chifeng, Hohhot and Baotou cities have joined the milk wine business.
However, only 19 companies are qualified to produce milk wines, the report said.
Quality watchdogs in Inner Mongolia carried out a four-month inspection of alcohol producers at the end of last year.
This saw 88 dairy product companies removed from the dairy producers list.