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January 22, 2013

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Apple slices fresh for days raise doubts

FRANCHISE brand store FamilyMart and US-based fruit distributor Chiquita came under fire yesterday after a netizen accused them of producing and selling fresh apple slices that did not turn brown after the package was open for 80 hours.

"I demand an explanation from FamilyMart and Chiquita for which additives have been added to the apple and whether they will harm health," the netizen identified as "yichangbaikafei" said on Weibo. The photos of the appleFamilyMart were posted.

Chiquita, however, said only ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is used on the apple to protect it from oxidation and changing color.

"Ascorbic acid is allowed in fresh fruits and vegetables according to Chinese regulations," the company said.

The netizen said last night that the apple did not change color in 80 hours although it was turning drier. He said the expiration date of the product was five days, on the condition it was not opened. He bought the product at a FamilyMart store in Xinzhuang, Minhang District.

A staff member with the Chiquita branch in Zhejiang Province said the antioxidant is added after apples are cut, but declined to say how it is added onto apples.

The posts stirred a heated discussion.

A netizen identified as "midiya" said she did several experiments by dipping apples in salt water and lemon water, which can stop freshly cut apples from turning color, but found all the apples started turning yellow after five hours.

The market watchdog, the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau, has not commented.

Freshly cut apples turn brown when iron-containing chemicals inside the apple cells react with oxygen in the air.


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