China Shutters Scores of Food Factories

Crackdown spreads to plants using industrial chemicals in edibles
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2007 12:49 PM CDT
A worker empties a bag of zongzi, a sticky rice dumpling, into a truck after they were confiscated from an illegal zongzi workshop in Beijing Wednesday June 13, 2007. Two tons of zongzi were confiscated...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Chinese government has closed 180 factories that were using dangerous and illegal ingredients, such as formaldehyde, in food products. The relatively large number of plants casts serious doubt on Beijing's insistence that the recent rash of tainted products originated with a small number of sources, the AP reports: A government official said the shutdowns were "not isolated cases."

The ongoing food-safety investigation began in December, ahead of widespread reports of melamine in pet food and a dangerous antifreeze additive in toothpaste. The crackdown is part of the government's campaign to allay fears about the safety of Chinese food exports, but three-quarters of factories are small, private plants like the ones snagged in the investigation.