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March 21, 2014

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Orange juice off the menu in malls

FOOD safety officials have pulled the plug on the orange juice vending machines operated by Shanghai Chengyi Co after it failed to comply with relevant food safety regulations.

All of the company’s 20 machines, which it rented from manufacturer Shanghai Ju’ang Intelligent Technology Co, have been sealed off pending a full investigation, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said yesterday.

The FDA began its probe following complaints from the public that the juice tasted bad.

“The machines first appeared in 2011,” FDA official Xu Wei said. “In 2012, people from the company that operates them came to us to ask about food safety issues, so we informed them about the relevant regulations.”

As a new business type, the company should have had an independent food safety test conducted, the official said.

The machines, most of which are located within shopping malls, serve cups of orange juice to consumers for 10 yuan (US$1.61) apiece.

However, after a man surnamed Shen complained to a radio station that the machines were using moldy oranges, reporters launched an investigation. At a mall in Putuo District they found four machines running at a temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, when they claimed the juice was chilled to 5 degrees.

The reporters also overheard a Shanghai Chengyi employee complaining to a colleague over the telephone about the rotten oranges in the machines.

A security guard at the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall told Shanghai Daily yesterday that the machine where he works dispenses dozens of cups every day. Workers top up the oranges twice a day, he said.

A shopper said: “The machine says it’s 100 percent fresh juice, which means it should be healthier than other types. But I wonder whether the machines are cleaned properly.”


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