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China probes liquor with excessive plasticizer


11:06, November 22, 2012

CHANGSHA - An ongoing investigation has confirmed that some of a domestic liquor brand's products contain excessive levels of a plasticizer, but there is no evidence that the company has intentionally used the toxic additive, a Chinese local quality watchdog said Wednesday.

In response to the latest food safety scandal, the Hunan provincial administration of quality and technological supervision said the investigation results show that liquor samples from Jiugui Liquor Co, Ltd. contained 1.04 mg of dibutyl phthalate (DBP) per kg, one kind of plasticizer.

The figure is higher than the 0.3 mg per kg standard, a provisional regulatory limit set by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in June 2011 after it found bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in food products from Taiwan the same year.

The inspection is being carried out by the quality watchdog of the Tujia-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Xiangxi.

It carried out a "law enforcement inspection" at the company, which is based in Jishou City, the prefectural seat of Xiangxi, on Tuesday.

The investigation was launched after a report was released on Monday on The business news website, based in south China's Guangdong Province, said tests conducted by the Shanghai branch of Intertek, a global company, showed that one kind of Jiugui liquor contained 1.08 mg of DBP per kg.

The level was 260 percent higher than the allowed maximum level of 0.3 mg per kg in food as outlined in a document issued by MOH last June, the news article said.

It said four bottles of a type of Jiugui liquor, which sell for 438 yuan (about $70) each, were tested.

In a statement posted on its website on Wednesday, the provincial quality watchdog said there is no evidence that the plasticizer was intentionally added to the liquor.

The provincial administration submitted the investigation results to the central quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality, Inspection and Quarantine.

It also urged the company to determine the sources of the plasticizer and carry out a thorough overhaul of its products.

The provincial administration said it would continue with its investigation and severely deal with any illegal acts.

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