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December 14, 2012

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'Tainted' Wonka candies destroyed

A CONSIGNMENT of Nestle's Wonka candies, imported by a Shanghai company, was destroyed by China's quality watchdog after they were found to contain a banned substance, the watchdog said yesterday.

Three batches of the candies, all bearing Nestle's Wonka brand, failed quality control tests and were found to contain calcium stearate (stearic acid calcium), a chemical substance that is banned in food by authorities on the Chinese mainland, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said.

The candies, weighing about 224 kilograms, were imported in October by Shanghai Hola Foods Co Ltd from the United States.

The importer told Shanghai Daily that the company had suspended further imports of the candies after the test failure.

The banned ingredient, however, is allowed in many Western countries, like the United States and Australia, and has been popular for decades, according to Alex Yang, a sales manager of Hola Foods.

It is impossible for the big factory that produces Wonka candies in the US to change the formula only because one of its ingredient is banned on the Chinese mainland, he said.

The product is not available in local supermarkets but is sold at some small shops in neighborhoods with a large number of expats and at online stores.

For instance the candies are sold on, China's biggest e-commerce website.

Yang claimed that five to six other companies in China also import the candies. The products were destroyed at Xiamen port, as all of the candies imported by Hola Foods were transported to Xiamen in Fujian Province first.

Nestle said Hola Foods was not its official agent, and the candies were never imported by its official agents nor sold on the Chinese mainland.

Calcium stearate is carboxylate of calcium that is found in some lubricants. It is used as a flowing agent in powders, including some foods.


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