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WINE NEWS:

China Contaminated Wine Scandal

Thousands of bottles are pulled from the shelves as authorities discover chemical additives in wines

January 10, 2011

Chinese authorities discovered chemical additives in Chinese wines

According to reports in the Chinese press, Chinese authorities shut down wineries and pulled bottles from shelves on December 27, 2010 after discovering chemical additives in the wines. In a food safety scandal reminiscent of China's melamine-contaminated powdered milk in 2008, the Chinese government is under increased pressure to improve the standard of its food and medicines.

The wines, product of the central province of Hebei, also known as "China's Bordeaux," were reported by the Global Times to be doctored with artificial flavorings, sugar water and coloring agents and sold under falsely used brand names. Authorities are reported to have shut down 30 wineries in the area and have taken 6 people into custody. Huang Weidong, a leading industry expert, said to the Global Times that the additives were possibly carcinogenic and could cause headaches and cardiac irregularities. Suspected wines were pulled from store shelves and 5,000 bottles of wine have been seized.


Chinese state media reported that the Hebei province produces approximately one-third of China's domestic wines. The wineries were exposed as Chinese consumers prepared for New Year and Lunar New Year festivities, traditionally a period that also means increased alcohol sales.

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(Updated: 01/10/11 JC)

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