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April 30, 2011

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Cancer chemicals in popcorn buckets

MOVIEGOERS have been sold popcorn at three local cinemas in buckets containing brightening chemicals that can lead to cancer, watchdogs reported yesterday.

Tianshan Cinema and Cloud Nine Shopping Mall Cinema in Changning District, and BroadBand International Cineplex in Luwan District sold the snack in cartons tainted with fluorescent material, said the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau.

Tianshan and Cloud Nine's buckets shared the same supplier - the Shanghai Juhe Trade Co Ltd.

Juhe said the buckets were produced by two companies in Taizhou and Wenzhou, both in Zhejiang Province.

The buckets provided by BroadBand, however, didn't have their producers' name or address on it, thus officials couldn't tell where they came from.

Movie fans were concerned by the results of the tests. "I don't know how much of the brightener I have ingested," said Misha Tan, a frequent filmgoer.

"Maybe next time I should bring homemade snacks to the cinema."

The three cinemas said they are now using safe buckets.

Juhe said the two producers both provided reports showing that the buckets had passed quality tests.

"I'd never have thought that the buckets would have quality problems," said Gao Mei, general manager of BroadBand.

"Our supplier showed us the quality certificate, so we believed the product was safe," Gao said.

Tianshan and Cloud Nine said they will cease cooperation with Juhe.

The quality test came following reports that some Beijing theaters had been found using popcorn buckets containing the hazardous material.

Fluorescent brightener is banned in paper food packaging as it can lead to cancer.

To reduce costs, some manufacturers use waste paper to make food packaging, which is prohibited by law, then add brightener chemicals to whiten the paper.


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