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March 16, 2010

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Consumers' Rights Day shines light on rip-offs

LOCAL prosecutors have charged 32 suspects involved in 25 cases of producing and selling counterfeits in the last week.

The cases involved a total of 69.6 million yuan (US$10 million). Of the 25 cases, 11 were about fake cigarettes.

In addition three sellers of fake auto air bags and auto headlamps were also caught in the city.

These weren't the only pieces of news tied to the International Day of Protecting Consumers' Rights, which was yesterday.

Knock-off cookers

Local product-quality authorities seized more than 5,000 cheap copies of name-brand electric cookers and induction cookers yesterday at a storehouse in Songjiang District.

The cookers had very similar names and appearance as brands such as Supor and Midea, but the prices were only half of the real ones.

The copies were found to catch fire easily and might emit harmful substances, said the Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision.

For example, a "Super" cooker, copied from the "Supor" cooker, had a very thin wire inside it and no protection grommet.

"Some of the cookers didn't have adequate parts, which may also cause electricity leakage," said Zhao Yang, an official with the bureau.

"Besides, the electromagnetic radiation of the copies may also be more serious than real ones."

Banned herb

A local consumer is demanding that Century Lianhua and a food importer pay a refund and compensation 10 times of the price, telling a court hearing yesterday that an imported beverage sold by the supermarket contained a Chinese herb that the Ministry of Health has barred as a food ingredient.

The plaintiff Pan Jiemin accused the two defendants of fraud.

Huangpu District People' Court held a hearing of the case. No verdict was available.

The two defendants insisted the product was legal because the Chinese tag of introduction passed the national health supervisor's inspection and the product was allowed to be sold in China.

The major ingredient of the product, imported from South Korea by Shanghai Jinfeng Food Co Ltd, was the Chinese herb wuweizi, or Chinese magnolia vine fruit.

Food products with wuweizi must be clarified as health food, Pan said.

Artificial fins

Local consumers need to beware of artificial shark fins made of potato noodles.

A chef of a local high-end wedding club disclosed that the lavish shark fin soup which cost 4,088 yuan was made of potato noodles worth only several yuan, Shanghai Evening Post reported yesterday.

Officials of the unnamed restaurant admitted to the fake fins but claimed they had no idea of how they came into the restaurant.

"It's hard for ordinary people to tell the difference between the authentic fins and the artificial ones in braised soup," the chef surnamed Zhan was quoted as saying.

"Similar to the potato noodles, the real fins had little flavor," he said.


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