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China bans harmful plastic wrappers
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-26 05:41

Plastic food wrappers containing a dangerous material have been banned nationwide, quality-control authorities announced yesterday.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine admitted in a press conference that some supermarkets used PVC wrappers that contained DEHA to pack food.

China bans harmful plastic wrappers
Some supermarkets used PVC wrappers that contained DEHA to pack food. DEHA could harm human health when it is used to pack fatty food or heated in a microwave. [China Daily]

DEHA is a plasticizer which makes the PVC material pliable and was not among the list of 65 kinds of plasticizers banned two years ago.

Consumers are advised to buy plastic food wrappers made of PE, a safe material, or PVC wrappers that contain no DEHA.

Liu Zhaobin, the spokesman for the administration, said DEHA could harm human health when it is used to pack fatty food or heated in a microwave.

Among the tough new measures proposed are:

The administration will strengthen inspection over the plastic food-wrapper industry, and manufacturers using DEHA in PVC wrappers will be severely penalized.

Ji Zhengkun, director of the administration's department of quality inspection, said: "Producers found using DEHA in food wrappers will be closed down immediately and ordered to recall all their products."

The administration will ban the import and export of PVC wrappers that fail to meet the national safety standard. Ji said PVC food wrappers would be added to mandatory inspection list in Customs soon.

The requirements on quality will be raised in a new national standard for the industry.

Supermarkets and shops are ordered to withdraw all plastic food wrappers without labels indicating the material they are made of; and whether they are safe for microwave use.

Ji advised consumers to check labels carefully before they buy food wrappers.

If they buy PVC (without DEHA) wrappers, they should not use it to wrap meat, cooked food or fatty food, or in microwave ovens. However, they can be safely used to wrap vegetables or fruits.

Of the 44 brands of homemade PVC food wrappers surveyed by the administration, almost all meet safety standards except for a few that contained DEHA.

There are 47 producers of plastic food wrappers on the Chinese mainland, of which six use PVC. The domestic market accounts for 90 per cent of their products while the remaining 10 per cent are exported.

(China Daily 10/26/2005 page1)

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