Formaldehyde-Tainted Cabbages Cause Alarm in China

EMSL Analytical provides testing services for formaldehyde and other contaminants.
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May 22, 2012 - PRLog -- China’s state news agency, Xinhua, recently reported that Chinese authorities have apprehended vegetable sellers who were spraying cabbages with a solution of formaldehyde to keep them fresh. According to the report, dozens of wholesale vegetable dealers in Qingzhou city were caught selling cabbage that had been sprayed with formaldehyde.

China’s wholesale vegetable dealers are not required to use refrigerated trucks to transport produce, and few can afford it. Thus, it has become common practice over the last three years to spray vegetables with formaldehyde, because the chemical helps slow vegetables from rotting in the warm summer months.

Formaldehyde has also been reportedly used to soak dried seafood to make it appear fresher. It is still widely used, despite being included on a list of illegal food additives published by China’s health ministry in 2008.

Formaldehyde is a chemical commonly used as a disinfectant or for embalming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can irritate the skin and cause breathing or digestive problems if ingested. It is highly toxic and carcinogenic.

The American food industry and consumers have grown wary of foreign imports, particularly after numerous contamination scandals surrounding Chinese products. In one infamous 2008 incident, milk and infant formula was adulterated with toxic melamine, which killed six babies and hospitalized 860 more.

“Because the United States imports such a huge volume of food and consumer goods from China, EMSL Analytical is receiving increased requests to test these items for dangerous chemicals, such as formaldehyde and melamine,” states Scott Van Etten, CIH, National Director of Industrial Hygiene at EMSL. “We offer legally defensible testing services for competitive pricing and at expedited rates if necessary.”
For more information about EMSL’s industrial hygiene services, visit, e-mail, or call 800-220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a full service testing company providing quality lab services under the same private ownership since 1981. Including the corporate lab facility in Cinnaminson, NJ, EMSL Analytical operates over thirty laboratories nationwide in the US and Canada. We provide analytical services for environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, forensics and materials science, consumer products, food safety, PCR, pharmaceutical, asbestos, lead, and radiological samples. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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