Many people have raised concerns over the discovery of Chinese-made dried fruits containing cancer-causing substances as these products have become favourite snacks and are sold rampantly in the city's markets.
HA NOI — Many people have raised concerns over the discovery of Chinese-made dried fruits containing cancer-causing substances as these products have become favourite snacks and are sold rampantly in the city's markets.
Xinhua News Agency reports that Chinese dried fruits were found to be processed with excessive amounts of preservatives and other colouring chemicals that cause cancer in humans. These products were ordered to be pulled from China's supermarket shelves.
However, in city markets such as Dong Xuan, Hom and Hang Buom Street, many kinds of colourful dried fruits, including dried plums and apples, have been displayed with no sufficient labelling.
They were sold at a price of VND60,000 (US$3) and VND150,000 ($7.5) per kilo.
"I like dried fruits and usually buy them as typical gifts for guests. How scary!" said Nguyen Ngoc Bich in Ha Noi.
Owner of Mai Hoa Shop on Hang Buom Street said she didn't make the fruits but purchased them from traders in HCM City and Lang Son Province.
She said many customers bought her fruits due to their low prices and fine flavour, adding that she could sell hundreds of kilos at peak times during December.
According to the Hom Market Management Board, the board had informed traders about the imported toxic fruits.
However, the board could only fine traders for selling banned products, not all imported dry fruits.
Currently, Ha Noi Department of Health inspectors are collecting samples of imported salty dried fruits sold at the city's markets for chemical testing.
The department's Chief Inspector Nguyen Viet Cuong said these products would be tested for lead, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. The inspectors would work with the ministry's Food Hygiene and Safety Department to re-examine the origin of salty dried fruits.
Those without labels, giving no indication of their origin and manufacturing base would be seized, he said.
Last week, the HCM City Department of Health also took samples of dried fruits without origins for testing.
Nguyen Duy Thinh of the Institute of Biological and Food Technology said that all chemicals found in Chinese dried fruits might cause damage to the nervous system, impair brain function, kidney failure and in extreme cases even lead to death.
Last year, the HCM City Department of Health conducted random tests on 30 dried fruit samples.
The results showed that up to 28 samples contained excessive amounts of lead. Nine contained banned artificial sweeteners. — VNS