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April 13, 2011

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Buns seized from city stores

More than 6,000 steamed buns were seized from the Shanghai market by the city's industrial and commercial authorities yesterday.

An investigation into the popular food was launched after a TV program highlighted problems with buns from one city producer.

Buns produced by the Shanghai Shenglu Food Co claiming to be "corn buns" had been dyed yellow and others sold as "black rice buns" had been dyed grey, Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau officials said yesterday.

Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng urged a thorough investigation into the affair.

"Illegal manufacturers should be punished severely according to law," Han said. "And the result of the investigation should be announced to the public in detail."

Yesterday, the investigation was widened to cover all steamed buns on the market, with police and food, quality, industrial and commercial authorities all involved.

The Shenglu buns seized yesterday were found at a Hualian Supermarket on Guangxin Road and a warehouse in the city belonging to the Dia Supermarket group.

Officials said they would be sent to quality test institutes to determine whether they presented any health risks.

On Monday, the authorities ordered Shenglu buns removed from sale after a China Central Television program showed old buns being recycled as new and chemicals being added in random amounts during production while not being listed on the packaging, as required by law.

The company has been ordered to cease operations and its director is in police custody.

Officials have also ordered stores to inspect buns from other manufacturers and stop selling them if there were any doubts about their quality. The industrial and commercial bureau would also test other brands of buns as part of its investigation.

Sales of steamed buns fell in the city yesterday. Customers told Shanghai Daily that they worried whether buns produced by other companies also had such problems, so they had decided not to buy the product for the time being.

"I don't know which brand of buns are safe," said Zhou Boqing, a resident living in Yangpu District. "What if adding illegal additives to buns has become a hidden rule in the industry?"

Zhou said it was rather ironic that corn buns and black rice buns, thought to contain grains beneficial to health, were widely regarded as health food. "God knows how much dye me and my family have had," he said.

Some branches of Dia Supermarket said they had stopped stocking buns of any brand.

Lianhua and Hualian supermarkets, two stores named in the CCTV program as outlets for the tainted buns, said yesterday that customers could ask for refunds if they presented their receipt or the label on the packaging. Both supermarkets have stopped selling buns produced by the Shenglu company.

Shenglu steamed buns were distributed to more than 10 supermarkets in Shanghai.


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