BEIJING - China's federal food regulator said widespread use of illegal and toxic ingredients has been found in at least 180 small food processing plants.
At a Beijing news conference, Han Yi, director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine's quality control division said most of the cases were found at plants that employ fewer than 10 people, the China Daily reported Wednesday.
Such additives as mineral oils, formaldehyde, paraffin wax and carcinogenic dyes were found being used in the production of flour, candy, pickles, biscuits and seafood, while others were using recycled or expired food.
Han said all of the plants were shut down and some operators were facing criminal charges.
However, he said it was difficult to monitor all food plants, as 75 percent of the 1 million food-processing plants in the country are small, privately owned and often in rural areas.
Earlier this year, food safety made headlines after melamine-contaminated wheat gluten and rice protein from China tainted pet food in North America.
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