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August 1, 2011

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Chain fined for additive

A FAST-FOOD noodle chain recently exposed for exaggerating its products' nutritional value was last year fined for using an illegal food additive, watchdogs said yesterday.

Ajisen Ramen, which serves Japanese food, was fined 780,000 yuan (US$121,174), but failed to notify the public as it was required to do, said the Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision.

In May, 2009, the bureau received a report that Ajisen noodles produced by Ling-xian Food Development Co Ltd added sorbol - a stabilizing agent banned from flour products.

The bureau's investigations confirmed its presence.

From January to May 2009, Ajisen produced 4.8 million packs of noodles contaminated by the chemical.

"The company knew that its noodles should be sorbol-free, but still used the stabilizer," said Zhao Yang, an official with the bureau.

In May last year, the bureau fined Ajisen. However, Ajisen claims it was never aware of the punishment.

According to Chinese law, a company is obliged to tell its investors and consumers of any punishment it receives from the authorities.

Last month, Ajisen was exposed exaggerating the nutritional content of its meals.

It claimed a bowl of its soup contained 1,600 milligrams of calcium. Researchers found that the actual content was just 48.5 milligrams.


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