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A worker from the quality watchdog checks boxes of preserved fruit at a manufacturer in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. The production date was shown as Wednesday. [Photo / China Daily]
The country's top quality watchdog is requiring its branches to scrutinize manufacturers of preserved fruit. The move follows a recent media report highlighting dirty production environments and the abuse of food additives in the trade.
"Food inspectors must go to the production sites for preserved fruit to check the businesses and their products, and carry out quality check campaigns in places where their manufacture and processing are prevalent," reads a notice on the website of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine on Wednesday.
Reporters from China Central Television recently investigated some preserved fruit manufacturers in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces and found serious violations of regulations in production.
Food materials were scattered on the ground in some factories in Linyi city, Shandong province, and workers said they did not have a production license or health permit, according to the report. Some of the raw materials were rotten and even garbage was blended into the raw material.
The reporters sent some food samples to be tested in the Beijing Center for Physical and Chemical Analysis.
The results found that the content of sweeteners, preservatives, and coloring and bleaching agents all exceeded national standards.
"A long-term and excessive consumption of the substances may harm your liver and kidney," said Li Keji, a professor at the public health school of Peking University.
China's quality watchdog also reacted by ordering local regulators to launch targeted inspections of preserved-fruits producers.
Recurring scandals in China's food industry in recent years, including tainted milk and "gutter oil", have triggered waves of anger among the public and undermined confidence in the food industry.
To address public concerns, China's National Development and Reform Committee and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Wednesday unveiled a development plan for the food industry, vowing to push forward the construction of a food tracking system during the 2011-2015 period to enhance quality supervision.
China will promote technology to record and log individual items online, and improve the information service mechanism that tracks food producers, according to the plan.
Xinhua contributed to this story.