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September 27, 2011

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Soy milk machines still on sale

EVEN though national watchdogs have ordered inspections of all soy milk machines following safety concerns, they are still on sale in the city.

Retailers say they have not received any orders from the authorities to withdraw the domestic appliances.

Whistleblowers had revealed that manufacturers used industrial lubricant in the machines, which could contaminate the milk and harm human health.

Huang Taiyuan, an official with the China National Food Industry Association, said that in order to lower costs it was a common practice to use industrial lubricant in household fruit and soy milk machines sold domestically.

In machines intended for export, where there are often strict inspection regimes, manufacturers use edible lubricant, he added.

The General Administration of Quality, Inspection and Quarantine has ordered provincial and city branches to check machines on sale and inspect manufacturers' premises.

The Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision wouldn't comment yesterday.

Some hypermarkets in Shanghai said they were concerned, but had not withdrawn the machines from sale.

"Some leading soy milk machine manufacturers, such as Joyoung, have declared that the lube they use is edible, and qualified under the United States Food and Drug Administration's standard," said Xiang Jun, an official with Lotus hypermarket.

"So we presume the products are safe."

Xiang said the store has received no instructions from the authorities' to withdraw the machines.

Lotus declined to say whether sales of the machines have dropped since the scandal was first exposed.

Householders using the machines have expressed their concerns.

"I stopped using my machine when I read the news," said Zhang Qing, the mother of a two-year-old boy.

"I used to make soy milk for my son, but now I won't use the machine until the inspection results are announced."

Quality authorities in south China's Guangdong Province said they have inspected products by Midea, another leading brand.

The lubricant used in Midea products inspected passed quality tests, officials said.


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