A Beijing man is to sue a leading Chinese honey-maker, which he accuses of mixing poppy flower content with its bee pollen and other nutritional products.
The Xicheng District People's Court has accepted the lawsuit and the man's demand for 20,000 yuan (US$2,600) in compensation. The court said it had yet to decide when to hold a hearing.
The man, surnamed Shan, said he had been consuming the "Special Bee Pollen" produced by Wang's Bee Garden, a privately owned company from Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, for several weeks. But he became suspicious after reading a posting on an Internet bulletin board.
Shan said he read several online messages that said Wang's Special Bee Pollen contained poppy flower content.
He said: "The main ingredient as stated on the product description is 'special pollen', and I want the manufacturer to clarify what that is."
A few weeks ago, a Beijing man wrote in a blog that he had suffered stomachaches and vomiting after eating the same product.
"I thought it was an allergy, until a friend from the beekeeping industry told me the product was 'special' because it contained illegal ingredients," his posting read.
The message spread quickly among Internet users.
A spokeswoman for Wang's Bee Garden denied the claims.
"It's impossible," she said. "Everybody knows poppies and all poppy products are banned from the market."
Yet suspicions over the company's products have spread beyond the capital.
The Chengdu Commercial Daily recently reported that a woman in Chengdu, who felt sick and sleepy after consuming the same bee pollen, is also ready to sue the company.
It said most supermarkets in Chengdu had removed the product from their shelves.
(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2007)