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Calcium producer dragged into controversy
By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-19 22:31

A harmful chemical remnant, hydrogen peroxide, was reportedly found in some calcium tablets although the producer claims the report is a vicious plot.

Hydrogen peroxide is reportedly found in calcium tablets produced by Beijing-based Juneng New Technology Co. [newsphoto]
The National Centre for Health Inspection and Supervision under the Ministry of Health and the State Drug and Food Administration are investigating.

Henan Commercial News reported that calcium tablets produced by Beijing-based Juneng New Technology Co contain traces of hydrogen peroxide, which may cause cancer.

The newspaper said it received tips from readers in mid-October and bought seven bottles of different types of calcium health care products made by the company. The products were tested by the Agricultural Products Quality Supervision Centre under the Ministry of Agriculture.

Test results showed four calcium products contained traces of hydrogen peroxide remnant.

Juneng, however, said the report was a plot to taint the company's reputation.

Juneng Co made an announcement on Thursday that the production and sales of its calcium products has been approved by State health authorities and the products have passed safety tests.

The announcement said the reports by the company may take legal action against the Henan Commercial News.

Juneng calcium products were approved by the Food Hygiene Evaluation Commission under the Ministry of Health in 1996.

Zhang Xingyuan, the general manager of Tianjin Juneng Chemistry, a subsidiary of Juneng Co, was quoted by Beijing Times on Wednesday as saying hydrogen peroxide was used as a raw material in Juneng calcium products but those products passed toxin checks conducted by State health authorities.

Food additive standards strictly legislate the use of hydrogen peroxide and prohibit any remnants in food products.

State food additive standards generally stipulate that hydrogen peroxide can only be used to disinfect raw milk and dry soybean curd products.

However, there are no State standards for hydrogen peroxide use in calcium health care products, officials with the Ministry of Health said.

Zhang Xingyuan said the major ingredient of Juneng calcium products contains L-threonate, a chemical agent, which is made from certain raw materials including hydrogen peroxide.

"Ingestion of small amounts of hydrogen peroxide will not damage human health," Zhang Xingyuan told the Beijing Times.

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most powerful oxidizers commonly used to treat water, waste water and hazardous waste.

Long-term exposure to excess hydrogen peroxide may harm the human body, cause ulcers, vomiting and may even lead to some types of cancer, medical experts said.

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