China names “Western liquors” in new health scare

BEIJING (Reuters) - A wide range of food products, especially some Western liquors and domestic peanut oils, have failed quality tests in south China, state media reported on Friday in the latest in a series of food-safety scares.

The inspection by the Food Safety Committee of Guangdong province, comes ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, when Chinese rushed to markets to prepare for family banquets.

China has been beset by a series of food- and product-scares in recent years, battering already dented faith in China-made goods and prompting massive recalls.

At least six young Chinese children died last year from kidney stones and more than 290,000 were made ill from melamine-contaminated milk formula.

Liquors from Western countries and various brands of local peanut oil fared the worst, the China Daily said on Friday, citing the report.

“Forty percent of the Western liquors, including whisky, vodka and rum, were found to be below standard,” China Daily quoted Luo Kui, vice-director of the Guangdong economy and trading committee’s market improvement division, as saying.

“The liquors either contained excessive amounts of additives or did not have the correct labeling.”

He did not mention any brands, or say which country they came from, but advised people to buy liquor from larger stores and read the labels on the back first.

Sixty percent of peanut oils were also found to be substandard, containing some cheaper vegetable oil instead, the report added.

(Reporting by Yu Le; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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