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Chinese Chilli Flunks Food Safety Tests

Thirteen percent of Chinese chilli products have failed safety tests in the latest scare for China's maligned food industry, state media reported. China's quality control watchdog found excessive amounts of preservatives in 13 percent of 46 chilli products tested across the country recently, Xinhua news agency said in a report issued late Sunday.

Chilli-based products are widely used in China to spice up a broad range of dishes. The products came from 38 companies in 12 provinces and municipalities, including Beijing and Shanghai, the report said without detailing if any of the chilli was exported. 'The products produced by small firms have lots of safety problems, while those from large- and middle-sized ones have all passed the safety tests,' it quoted the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine as saying.

Many of the tested products also featured labelling that did not comply with government regulations. The administration also found that eight percent of dried vegetables and dried fruits had failed safety tests, due mainly to excessive colour additives and the presence of sulphur dioxide.

China last month said it would tighten up inspections nationwide after a number of dangerous food products was found in domestic and export markets. In one of the highest-profile cases, pet food contaminated by additives originating in China is suspected of killing thousands of dogs and cats in the United States. The pet food was tainted with the chemical melamine, a substance used in fertilisers and plastics, which found its way into wheat gluten exported from China for the US pet food and animal feed markets.


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