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Probes show dangerous straws on sale

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-16 09:01

Products often have unhealthy materials that dissolve in drinks

Probes show dangerous straws on sale

A recent probe found that 10 percent of drinking straws sold by Shanghai's Yu Garden wholesalers were up to standard. Zhong Yang / for China Daily

Industry insiders have warned consumers to be careful when using drinking straws, as 90 percent in the Shanghai market did not meet quality standards, according to investigators.

The national standard on drinking straws requires a quality safety logo granted by the food quality and safety administration on package labels.

Probes show dangerous straws on sale

However, packing labels for straws produced by unlicensed workshops typically do not provide information of the materials used, or the manufacturer.

According to food experts, some straws could contain hazardous materials that can dissolve into drinks. Long-term use can cause harm to the digestive system, premature sexual development, infertility or even cancer.

An investigation team led by Lou Zhongping, who helped draft the standards on drinking straws, began inspections of wholesale stores in Shanghai's Yu Garden in early July and concluded only 10 percent of straws were qualified. Inspections also revealed forged quality safety logos.

"In wholesale stores, we found the logo was hard to read and could be erased easily," said Lou, who is also president of the largest manufacturer of drinking straws worldwide, Soton Daily Necessities.

Despite a request on July 3 by the market watchdog requiring that stores remove the straws from their shelves, a vendor said that the straws are still being sold.

Most of the quality safety logos are counterfeit, he added, showing a bag full of colorful drinking straws.

"Many beverage and milk tea stores as well as schools buy straws regularly, and we sell hundreds of packs every month," said the vendor, who only wanted to be identified as Chen.

In a beverage shop named Guoxiang in the Jing'an district, a manager surnamed Yang said he purchases straws from markets in Yu Garden, and has never been aware of the safety concerns.

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