White Rabbit denies 'contaminated candy' claim

By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-20 06:52

SHANGHAI: The manufacturer of White Rabbit candy yesterday released the results of a laboratory test countering accusations by Philippine food authorities that its product contains formaldehyde.

Weng Mao, the general manager of Guan Sheng Yuan (Group) Ltd (GSY), said at a press conference that the company had received a sample test result from SGS, an international inspection company, showing its products were free of the poisonous chemical.

"The report is convincing enough to dispel the untrue reports from some overseas media," he said.

On Monday, the Philippines' bureau of foods and drugs under the health department banned the distribution and sale of the candy plus three other China-made products: Milk Candy, Balron Grape Biscuits and Yong Kang Foods Grape Biscuits, which hail from Fujian and Guangdong provinces.

It claimed sample tests on them had shown they contained harmful substances, such as formaldehyde.

The bureau also issued an advisory, asking the public not to buy or consume the four products.

Shanghai's quality supervision bureau has begun its own investigation, but no results have yet been reached.

GSY told the media on Wednesday it had conducted its own sample tests and had found no poisonous chemicals. This was followed by the release of the SGS test results.

Weng said GSY had suffered huge losses as a result of the claims made about its products.

"The Philippine food and drug authorities told the world the candy was poisonous without publishing any relevant test reports or verifying with us," Weng said.

"The news was soon widely spread and supermarkets in the Philippines and Hong Kong have removed the candy from their shelves.

"But when we requested the Philippines bureau to provide us with a copy of their test report, they ignored us. "It is extremely irresponsible."

Weng said his company will maintain its right to claim compensation.

White Rabbit is a Shanghai confectionery brand established more than 50 years ago. Some 80 tons of the candy have been exported to the Philippines since 1979.

Zhou Hongzu, a 47-year-old sales clerk at the Chang Chun food store on Huaihai Road in downtown Shanghai, said she always sold plenty of White Rabbit.

"It is one of the most popular candies because of the cheap price and good taste," she said.

(China Daily 07/20/2007 page3)

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