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July 20, 2012

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Problems detected in laundry inspection

OFFICIALS in Minhang's Wujing Town found three laundry workshops suspected of operating without business licenses, and others that were considered unsanitary, during a raid yesterday afternoon.

The raid came after a media investigation found some popular restaurants and budget hotel chains use unlicensed workshops in the area to wash their linens.

Officials visited Chengjiang Road and inspected 18 workshops that included the spots where undercover reporters visited earlier.

Three workshops failed to show their business licenses, and workers at the workshops said their bosses were out, officials said.

The rest had business licenses, but inspectors said some were operating in substandard conditions.

"We ordered those with dirty air to improve their environment and we will visit the three workshops again to see whether they have licenses," said Wang Jiajia, an official with the town government.

"An intensified campaign targeting unlicensed laundry stores will be conducted in the town," Wang said.

She said the investigation was still underway.

Undercover reporters visiting laundry workshops on the city's outskirts found restaurant napkins, hotel bath towels and even hospital bedsheets were mixed together for washing.

The laundry industry in the city is chaotic as a large number of workshops, particularly in the city's outskirts, are operating without business licenses.

Ren Fengmei, secretary general of the Shanghai Trade Association of Laundering and Dyeing Professions, said the association has no idea how many laundry workshops actually operate in Shanghai.

"Many small workshops just rent a place, buy several washing machines, hire some staff workers, and then start operating secretly without going through any procedures," Ren said. She said they earn a lot of money during peak seasons by taking orders in large amounts, and closing in slack seasons.

Ren said a number of workshops use a cheap and inappropriate alkaline substance for washing that can burn skin. Some of them are poisonous.


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