Chinese Clean Up Their Act

It's comforting to know that the Chinese are finally (literally) cleaning up their act on what is, and what isn't, permissible in foodstuffs by banning such wholesome and nutritious products as insecticides, drain cleaners and industrial dyes according to media sources.

China's first list of banned food additives issued this week contains substances including boric acid that is not only used as an insecticide but is also added by Chinese food manufacturers to meatballs and noodles in order to increase elasticity. Formaldehyde and lye, which is used in soap production and drain-cleaner, was also banned. The materials are also added to water in which seafood is soaked to make the produce appear fresher and bigger.

The list of outlawed substances is the result of an investigation by Chinese officials charges with improving standards in the country’s food industry where the practice of adding industrial chemicals to foodstuffs is rife.

The government working group even listed an addictive substance made from the poppy plant and related to opium, which can be used as a painkiller. It is often used in hot pot, a Chinese dish where meat, vegetables and tofu are cooked at the table.