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December 26, 2013

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Sulfur used to whiten bamboo shoots

Some vendors in Shanghai’s Jiangqiao Wholesale Market, the city’s largest, have been found selling winter bamboo shoots whitened with sulfur, despite sulfur being banned in fresh vegetables.

A retailer called Shanghai TV saying bamboo shoots he bought from the market, which sells 20 to 30 tons of the produce a day to supermarkets and other retailers all over the city, had a strong smell of sulfur.

Reporters who went to the market found some vendors admitting that the bamboo shoots were smoked with sulfur to give them a better appearance.

Tests on bamboo shoot samples found sulfur residue, 0.02 grams in every kilogram.

According to China’s regulations on food additives, sulfur dioxide is only allowed in fresh fruit and dried vegetables within strict limits. 

“There is no maximum limit set for fresh vegetables, which means sulfur is not allowed to be used on fresh vegetables.” said Jiang Linlei, director of the Shanghai Food Safety Engineering Technology Research Center.

Li Shuguang, a food safety professor at Fudan University’s public health school, said sulfur dioxide can affect the digestive system, induce nausea and cause serious damage to the blood system.



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