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November 28, 2009

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Juices exceed arsenic standard in Hainan; Shanghai unaffected

THREE popular types of vegetable and fruit juice have been found to contain arsenic exceeding the allowable standard in Hainan Province

The Haikou Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau in the provincial capital announced the inspection results on Thursday.

The three types of juice -- 30 percent vegetable and fruit mixed juice, and C100 grapefruit juice, both produced by Nongfu Spring; and peach juice produced by Uni-President -- were still on shelves yesterday in Shanghai.

The city's industrial and commercial authorities said they were closely watching events, but taking no action for the time being.

The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said it will not carry out inspection on the juice in local markets, nor order the questioned product to be removed from shelves.

"We will wait for the state-level instruction on the matter," said Sui Bo, a bureau official.

Too much arsenic in the human body will cause vomiting, dizziness and indigestion.

The two companies said the juice sold in Shanghai was not produced by the manufacturing plants that made the questioned products.

Yang Shouzheng, of President Enterprises (China) Investment Co Ltd in Shanghai, said the suspect beverages were produced in a plant in Guangzhou that mainly distributes to Guangdong and Hainan provinces.

Yang said those products passed quality inspection before hitting the market.

He said a second inspection on the same batch of products, made by an independent quality-control center in Guangzhou and sought by his company, showed the amount of arsenic was less than the national limits.

That inspection showed arsenic in Uni-President's peach drinks at less than 0.05 milligram per liter while the national standard requires less than 0.2 milligram per liter, according to results obtained by Shanghai Daily.

"We have asked related industry administration in Hainan to re-conduct checks," Yang told Shanghai Daily, "and the results will be available within two days."

Xiang Jun, of CP Lotus Hypermarket in Shanghai, said the Uni-President drinks in its store are made by plants in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, and Nongfu Spring's products are supplied by a factory in Zhejiang Province.

"According to my experience, the quality problems will gradually impact the sales in coming days, because consumers normally are confused about the production location," she said.


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