Material contamination has been confirmed as the cause of the chemical content detected in canned meat products made by a Shanghai food company.
On December 6, the Shanghai entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau suspended the export of all food products, including canned meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, made by Shanghai Maling Aquarius Co Ltd. The order came after the Hong Kong hygiene authority detected chemical contents in the company's canned meat on December 3.
The food and environment hygiene department of Hong Kong said low levels of nitrofurans metabolite had been found in cans of low-salt pork luncheon meat made by Maling.
During its investigation, the Shanghai bureau found that in September last year, Maling purchased about 3.2 tons of raw materials from a firm in another province that turned out to be contaminated, a bureau spokesman said.
The company unwittingly processed the tainted materials on December 26 last year, the spokesman said, without revealing details of the contamination.
Maling began recalling contaminated products on December 10. The spokesman said the bureau will tighten its surveillance of the company's processing procedures, but did not say when the export ban would be lifted.
Nitrofurans is a drug derived from furan that is used to inhibit bacterial growth. Frequent ingestion of nitrofurans is hazardous to health and can cause cancer or even death.
Maling has won many domestic and international awards for its food products, including canned meat and sticky rice. Its products are sold throughout Asia and Europe.
(China Daily via Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2007)