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Health & Environment

Bak choi found to be sprayed with formalin

Vegetable wholesalers in Shandong have been caught spraying toxic formalin on bak choi to keep them fresh in the latest food safety scandal to hit the mainland.

Vendors in Qingzhou said that spraying diluted formalin on bak choi had become a common practice locally in the past three to four years, the Xiaoxiang Morning Post reports.

A police officer in the town of Dongxia said yesterday that they had recently caught a vendor from Heilongjiang spraying formalin on a truckload of bak choi before embarking on a 10-hour trip to Langfang , Hebei .

“He was packing the bak choi into a truck on the side of the road and attracted our attention because of the strong smell of formalin, which he was trying to dilute with water,” the police officer said.

“The man said he had sprayed the formalin on the bak choi because the weather is hot now and he needed to drive a long distance. Otherwise bak choi would rot, which would result in a huge loss.”

The vendor was quoted by the Xiaoxiang Morning Post as saying that many vendors buying bak choi in Shandong and Hebei sprayed it with formalin so that it lasted longer. Cheap supplies of formalin could be easily found at shops in Hebei. Formalin is well known as a preservative in medical laboratories and as a sterilising agent.

Formaldehyde, the gas used to make the liquid formalin, is classified as a human carcinogen. Long-term exposure to low levels of formaldehyde may cause respiratory difficulties, eczema and other problems.

However, mainland food safety regulations are ambiguous on whether the application of formalin to food is banned.

A deputy director of Qingzhou’s agriculture bureau, Liu Shengtian , was quoted by the Xiaoxiang Morning Post as saying the authorities had ordered vendors to stop the practice and to instead use ice to keep vegetables fresh.

An official at Qingzhou’s information office said the authorities had received complaints about “formalin cabbages” before but only a few people had been involved and they had been fined.

He said the latest cases were being investigated and the results of the probe would be announced soon.

Since the scandal broke at the end of last month, the city government has been screening produce at markets, begun an education campaign about the hazards of formalin at wet markets and in rural areas, and beefed up supervision by agriculture, quality inspection and commerce bureaus, the city’s news portal, qznews360.com reported.

Alice Yan
South China Morning Post

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee


6 thoughts on “Bak choi found to be sprayed with formalin

  1. Reblogged this on Craig Hill.


    Posted by Craig Hill | May 9, 2012, 8:12 am
  2. Bak choi is so beautiful and tasty and healthy. I hope this problem gets fixed soon. A great photo too!


    Posted by Brook | May 9, 2012, 10:53 pm
  3. Wonderful bak choi picture – never get that quality in my shop – this with food scandals every week … really bad. Poor people over there, don’t dare to eat anything soon.


    Posted by viveka | May 10, 2012, 2:36 am


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