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In turnabout, China claims imports from U.S. tainted

June 09, 2007|From the Associated Press

Turning the tables on the United States amid growing worries over Chinese products, Beijing said Friday that some health supplements and raisins imported from the U.S. failed to meet safety standards and were returned or destroyed.

In Washington, a Food and Drug Administration official said the agency was seeking more information, including whether the Chinese move was based on "bona fide, science-based findings" or in retaliation for U.S. actions.

U.S. inspectors recently have banned or turned away a number of Chinese exports, including monkfish containing puffer fish toxins, drug-laced frozen eel and juice made with unsafe color additives. The FDA has also stopped imports of Chinese toothpaste to test for a potentially deadly chemical.

Friday's announcement said Chinese inspectors had found bacteria and sulfur dioxide in products shipped by three American companies.

"The products failed to meet the sanitary standards of China," the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a notice posted on its website. Calls to the agency were not answered Friday.

The companies were identified as K-Max Health Products Co. and CMO Distribution Center of America Inc., which exported health supplements, and Supervalu International Division, which exported Sun-Maid Golden Raisins.

"Whatever the motives are for this, if it's real, we want to know about it," said David Acheson, the FDA's assistant commissioner for food protection.

"Is it tit for tat? We don't know.... If they found a legitimate problem with a product exported from the United States, we would want to know about it so we can look into it and fix it."

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