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Glass noodles fail spot tests

SEVEN samples of glass noodles were found with high levels of aluminum residue, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said yesterday after testing 121 starch products.

Three of the samples that exceeded the standard were produced by well-known Longkou Longxu Vermicelli Ltd, which said the aluminum residue may have been caused by the raw ingredients or staff processing.

Authorities have ordered a ban on all tainted products and punished manufacturers. The local FDA will conduct more tests on starch products in following months, officials said yesterday.

Officials said the aluminum residue was because manufacturers illegally used potash aluminum to make noodles stronger and chewier.

The local FDA's spot tests included glass noodles, mung bean noodles and sheet jelly from city restaurants, supermarkets and wet markets. The tests were looking for illegal food additives and residues commonly seen in such products.

Aluminum can accumulate in the body and high levels can impact brain development in children. It is also a risk factor in elderly dementia.

Wang Changhai, manager of Shandong Province-based Longkou Longxu Vermicelli Ltd, said his company was informed of the test results by the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration and a penalty notice was sent.

"All samples detected with high levels of aluminum residue were produced either last year or in January," he said.

"The raw materials and our staff's processing may be the cause. The company has raised awareness of the issue and enacted strict guidelines to prevent it from happening again. We have sent a new batch of samples to Shanghai for checks and results will be known in days."

The main ingredient of potash aluminum is aluminum potassium sulfate, which is only allowed as a raising agent in fried food, aquatic products and yeast powder. It is not allowed in glass noodles and similar starch products.

Gutian Fuquan Food Co, Shanghai Xiongfeng Development Co, Jitian Pinghu Yongshun Glass Noodle Processing Factory and a branch of Shandong Zhaoyuan Longkou Glass Noodle Processing Factory made the other products that failed the test.


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