According to a report by BBC, Beijing News recently uncovered the operation of nearly 50 factories in China that were reportedly making fake food seasonings and sauces of brands including Nestlé, Maggi, and Unilever-owned Knorr labels. According to report, the factories were using ingredients “unfit for human consumption”, such as industrial salt, in vinegar and soy sauce.
On Monday, January 16, the China Food and Drug Administration(CFDA) reportedly issued a statement that it had dispatched officers to “investigate the claims” and would present the results of their investigation to the public in a timely fashion.
Pictures and video taken at the scene show workers making and packaging the products in dirty sheds using homemade equipment like plastic drums and garden hoses.
The factories were said to have used industrial grade salt unsafe for human consumption. They also recycled by-products from other food manufacturers, and were seen freely using highly regulated ingredients like the artificial sweetener cyclamate.
Beijing News quoted Nestle’s China office as saying that its anti-counterfeit team was looking into the matter, and that “product experts will be helping law enforcement representatives in identifying suspicious products”.
Chinese food brands such as Totole and Donggu, whose products were also faked, said they were either assisting investigations or conducting their own probes.
Totole added that it had known about the factories since 2007, and its anti-counterfeit team had conducted numerous crackdowns in Duliu, but had been unable to completely stamp them out.