Ew. Authorities raided a small factory in Beijing that had produced over 20,000 tons of toxic industrial salt sold across seven different cities and provinces.
A total of 22 people were also arrested in the four-month operation which was led by the Ministry of Public Security and carried out by police in Beijing and Jiangsu, Global Times reports, citing Xinhua.
The eight-square-meter mini-factory located in the capital’s Daxing district had managed to push out 20,000 tons of industrial salt over the past seven years which was then re-packaged as edible table salt and sold in small villages across Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Henan, Hebei, Anhui and Shandong.
The “fake salt” contained traces of nitrate, which is used as a preservative in meat products, the Global Times said.
The excessive intake of nitrite is considered toxic and 20,000 tons constitutes the annual consumption of Taizhou’s 5 million residents, Zhou Lügang, deputy director of Taizhou’s Salt Administration Bureau, told The Beijing News on Thursday.
“The profits are huge,” said Zhu Jinhua, an official of Taizhou’s Public Security Bureau. “The salt they purchased at 400 to 450 yuan per ton can be sold from 800 to 1,000 yuan per ton after labeling it as table salt.”
Fan Zhihong, a professor at the School of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering of China Agricultural University, told the Times that most of the tainted salt ended up in food processing factories rather than groceries stores, and that while many types of industrial salt contain some levels of nitrite, limited intake will not lead to death.
by Maggie Wong