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Bleach warning for buyers of bean sprouts looking too fresh

BEAN sprouts sold in local markets are to be tested to see whether bleaching powder is being added to make them look fresher.

Consumers have complained that they found wholesalers giving bleaching powder to retailers, officials said yesterday, the day that the Chinese mainland's first food safety law had come into force.

"We will go to the market to confirm the powder situation and will carry out further investigation," said Weng Yuwen, an official with the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administration Bureau.

Local vegetable dealers are said to be soaking bean sprouts in a banned chemical solution to make them look fresh and appealing.

Wholesalers at a local wet market in Minhang District's Qibao area are providing such chemicals to retailers who sell the sprouts at markets across the city, according to the Oriental Morning Post.

The chemical, suspected to be a type of strong oxidising agent, is banned by China's mainland in food use.

It is effective in bleaching the sprouts and making them look fresh and appealing, the report cited experts as saying. Normally, bean sprouts will darken and begin to wither in half a day and that puts off buyers, retailers said.

Sprouts soaked in the solution stay looking fresh.


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