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6 detained by police over toxic fake beer

By Leeann Li (Shanghai Daily)

08:34, July 04, 2012

SIX people who made fake beer using cancer-causing industrial chemicals and sold it in north China, gaining 13 million yuan (US$2.05 million) in the process, have been detained by police.

They added toxic chemicals - hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde - to 13 counterfeit brands of beer, including Tsingtao, and sold it in Jilin Province and its neighboring Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia.

Police in Siping, a city in the northeastern Jilin Province, seized 18,000 cases of beer, 120 bottles of formaldehyde and 20 barrels of industrial hydrochloric acid in a crackdown last month.

Also confiscated were 130,000 fake brand labels, 80,000 bottle caps and six bank cards, the Legal Daily newspaper reported yesterday.

Production of the fake and toxic beer began in February after a man surnamed Jia subcontracted the Shuangliao City Xinxin Beverage Factory last October.

Jia concocted a solution of hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde to prolong shelf life and make the beer tastier, police said.

His relatives purchased the materials, supervised the process and contacted sellers, and Jia recruited 30 assembly line workers, who had no knowledge of his homemade solution, to produce the beer, the report said.

Siping police were tipped off about the illegal business in early May, and 70 police raided the factory on June 13. Jia and his five relatives were caught at the scene.

Formaldehyde, used as a disinfectant and embalming fluid, can cause cancer and fetal deformation.

In 2008, China banned it as an illegal food additive.

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