Beijing reports problematic food products including Tea

This morning, the Beijing Food and Drug Administration announced a list of food products to be removed from the market. Six products failed the inspection and were taken off the market all together. In particular, pesticide residues were detected in two batches of Ai Li Si tea leaves.


Reporters from The Mirror compiled Beijing’s food safety information during the first half of this year and found 25 reports revealed a total of 227 batches of problematic products. Tea and its products became the ‘hardest stricken area’ among the substandard food products for the first two quarters of the year, topping all other food categories. Zhi Fu, a brand of Tie Guan Yin tea, took up the vast majority of places in the blacklist due to excessive rare earth content. Candied fruits, pickles and other products, which were often problematic due to excessive food additives, followed this. The cause for exceeding the limits was usually either illegal addition by the manufacturer or lax production control.


Analysis on food categories: tea reported most


Food safety has always been the focus of public concern. Reporters collected each and every food safety report provided by the Beijing Food and Drug Administration during the first two quarters of the year.


There have been 25 reports that discovered 227 batches of problematic products, among which 193 batches involved circulated commodities.


Statistics found that tea and its products were most often reported – 32 batches within half a year, followed by candied fruits and pickles, 22 batches of each.


Meanwhile, the Beijing Food and Drug Administration started to report substandard health products this year. The first six months saw 11 batches of substandard health products being removed from the shelves. Among them, 9 batches were removed because insufficient or no active ingredients were detected during inspection.


Problem: lax production control leads to frequent ‘limit breaking’


Statistics revealed that tea products failed the inspection often because their rare earth content exceeded the limits, whereas candied fruits and pickles often failed because their sulfur dioxide or sodium cyclamate was excessive. Therefore, rare earth content, sulfur dioxide content, and sodium cyclamate content were the top three unmet standards.


Sulfur dioxide is often used in food preservatives and bleaching agents to give food a better appearance. Unscrupulous merchants use preservatives and bleach excessively to make food look more ‘glamorous.’ However, eating too much such food will do harm to the body.


The excessive amount of rare earth elements in tea, on the other hand, was often due to abuse of foliage fertilizer in the planting process. Meanwhile, the reason why bacterial colonies and aluminum content are often excessive in drinking water, noodles, and pastries is because the production environments often fall short of the sanitation standards or because too many food additives are used.


In addition, more than 80% of substandard products failed the inspection because a substance was overused.


Time: more than 90% of the substandard products were inspected within a year


Statistics found that the substandard products had the highest chance of being inspected between 6-12 months after production. More than 90% were inspected within a year after production.


Brands: Zhi Fu was reported 14 times within half a year


Among the reports on substandard food during the first half of the year, the food products from 21 companies were reported twice, and four companies were reported three times.


Fujian Zhi Fu Ecological Agriculture Development Co., Ltd. and its principal Shenzhen Le Zhi Fu Trade Co., Ltd., who manufatured the tea brand Zhi Fu, set a new record for being named for producing substandard food the most times within six months in Beijing: from April to June this year, 14 batches of Zhi Fu’s Tie Guan Yin tea were reported, all for excessive rare earth content.


Reporters contacted Shenzhen Le Zhi Fu Trade Co., Ltd. this morning. The company staff say that Zhi Fu’s Tie Guan Yin has a dozen products and they are still selling as usual on the market, but the substandard batches have been put off the market. As for the excessive rare earth content, they claim that the problem is in the soil and is impossible to be avoided completely, and that the company will increase inspection in the future.


Zhi Fu tea is mostly sold in well-known supermarkets, many of which are chain stores of Auchan, Wal-Mart, Beijing Hualian, Wumart, Yonghui, etc. Some supermarkets tell the reporters that because the stores and the regional companies do not have the procurement authority, they have already done the work of removing substandard foods from the shelves. However, it is at the hands of the procurement center to investigate suppliers who have repeatedly failed inspections. They may impose more severe penalties on these suppliers, or even terminate the cooperation.


Ai Li Si tea reported today to contain pesticide residues


This morning, the Beijing Food and Drug Administration published this week’s substandard foods; six products were on the list. In particular, a pesticide called dicofol was detected in the Ai Li Si Tie Guan Yin tea and Jasmine tea (#8) sold in two Wuwart stores. This substance is prohibited in tea.


Food safety experts say that dicofol is one of the commonly used organochlorine pesticides and its use on tea plants has been banned by the Ministry of Agriculture since 1997. Human contact with dicofol will cause dizziness, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and so on, damaging the health.


The Beijing Food and Drug Administration reminds the public that all consumers who bought substandard foods can demand a refund from the seller with the receipt and food packaging.