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Vietnamese producers suspended over tainted bamboo shoots

Vietnamese producers suspended over tainted bamboo shoots

Friday, April 08, 2016, 14:20 GMT+7

Police in north-central Vietnam have temporarily barred two bamboo shoot manufactures from operation after finding them using banned chemicals to renew rotten bamboo shoots.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Viet Nhi, deputy chief of the environmental police department of Nghe An Province, said on Wednesday that his unit had opened an investigation and restricted operations at two bamboo shoot firms in the provincial capital city of Vinh.

On Tuesday, police officers carried out a food inspection in Doi Cung Ward, Vinh, and found the Son Hanh bamboo shoot facility, run by Le Duc Son, 46, and another place, operated by Pham Thi Trang, using chemical substances to freshen bamboo shoots.

There were about 14 metric tons of rotting bamboo shoots in the Son Hanh warehouse, according to a police probe. The state of the bamboo has led investigators to believe the shoots were harvested between six months and one year ago.

Son confessed to authorities that his facility had used whitening agents to freshen the bamboo shoots and stained them with a yellowish artificial coloring agent, suspected to be diarylmethane (auramine O).

Police also reported that Trang’s facility housed three packs of yellow powder, allegedly auramine O, an artificial colorant meant for use on clothes, wood, and industrial products. Pure auramine O appears as yellow needle crystals and is highly soluble in water and ethanol.

Nhi said that the chemical samples had been sent to Ho Chi Minh City for examination and toxicity testing, adding that the department confiscated a combined 25 metric tons of bamboo shoots from the two facilities for further investigation.

The chemical substances utilized by the producers are prohibited from being used for food processing, according to the senior lieutenant colonel.

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