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November 24, 2011

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Tainted dumplings discovered

THE Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said yesterday it has inspected frozen dumpling products sold in local markets, finding that 15 batches of products had quality problems.

Included were Wanchai Ferry pork and Chinese cabbage frozen dumpings sold at E-Mart's Ruihong branch that were found to contain golden staph bacteria, which can cause pneumonia and blood poisoning. The Wanchai Ferry products, a total of 68,580 bags, were produced on September 3.

The bureau has ordered local markets to remove the questioned products from shelves, and recall all those already sold, officials said. No more details were given on other brands of dumplings failing the tests.

Shanghai's quality watchdog also is testing the Wanchai Ferry frozen dumplings taken from its plant in the city after a type of the companies' products were found to contain the golden staph bacteria.

The Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision said it drew four samples from the company, including the wonton with minced pork and shepherd's purse that was found several weeks ago to be infected with golden staph. Up to yesterday three of those samples had been tested, and no problem was found, the bureau said.

Officials said the questioned products may be tainted in the process of transport or in the market. "Frozen dumplings are required to be made and sold in an environment where the temperature is kept at minus 18 degrees Celsius," said Shen Weimin, deputy director of the quality agency. "But in fact, there can be some flaws."

Shen said during transport, the products can be exposed to normal temperatures for temporary but critical periods of time.

Because heat kills the bacteria, a new national standard may allow trace amounts of such bacteria to exist in frozen dumplings. Under the present standard, no golden staph can be found in any frozen food, but the new one, now holding counsel with the public, allows a trace to exist. The Ministry of Health explained that the bacteria widely exists in soil and air, and as long as people boil the dumplings properly, it won't affect people's health.

The city's quality agency said that before the new standard takes effect, it will still stick to the present one.


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