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Dairy firm defends additives use

A Shanghai dairy company has defended the use of additives in its strawberry yogurt after media reports accused it of using banned substances in the processed fruit pieces and not listing additives on the packaging. Bright Dairy & Food Co Ltd, China's third-biggest dairy company by sales, issued a statement yesterday saying that all the additives contained in flavored strawberry particles in the yogurt were allowed in food production in China. And it rejected allegations that it had done anything wrong by failing to list ingredients. Bright Dairy said the original ingredients of the strawberry particles didn't need to be shown on the pack, according to the country's general standard for the labeling of prepackaged foods, as there is a national standard for their production. The China Business Herald reported yesterday that several additives were missing on packs of strawberry yogurt produced in Bright Dairy's Beijing factory. It also said that Bright Dairy used sweet whey powder instead of whey protein in the manufacturing process. "Sweet whey power is a food ingredient. It's the same as whey protein. The only difference is the level of protein contained," an official surnamed Qiao with Bright Dairy told the newspaper. However, the two items vary a lot in components, protein level and price. "Bright Dairy uses sweet whey power as a substitute for whey protein because the former is much cheaper," Wang Yan from the Beijing office of Pacific Dairy Ingredients Co Ltd, supplier of the sweet whey powder, told the newspaper. China has ordered authorities to step up the battle against illegal additives following several recent food safety scandals that have seriously undermined confidence in food production. Authorities have uncovered sales of drug-tainted pork, outdated steam buns treated with sweeteners and dye and pork submerged in a chemical compound to make them taste like beef. The Cabinet issued a notice last month calling for inspections to be tightened up and ! violator s to be severely punished. In 2008, at least six children died and nearly 300,000 fell ill after drinking powdered milk laced with melamine, an industrial chemical added to low quality or diluted milk to fool inspectors by giving high readings for protein levels. Earlier this year, Chinese quality authorities sought to calm renewed public alarm after reports that some manufacturers had added a leather hydrolyzed protein powder to dairy products.

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