Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Chinese Pollen Producer Accused of Adulteration

Leading Chinese Honey Maker Accused of Mixing Poppy Content in Products
Xinhua Economic News Service, 7/3/2007

A consumer in Beijing has sued a leading Chinese honey maker, saying the latter has mixed poppy flower content in its bee pollen and other nutritional products.

The Xicheng District People's Court in downtown Beijing has accepted the lawsuit and the consumer's demand for 20,000 yuan (2,565 U.S. dollars) in compensation. The court said it is yet to decide when to hold a hearing .

The consumer, surnamed Shan, said he began to take doses of the "Special Bee Pollen" produced by Wang's Bee Garden, a privately-owned company based in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, at the end of last year.

Shan said he had read several Internet postings recently saying the company's "Special Bee Pollen" contained poppy flower content. "The main ingredient as stated on the product description is just 'special pollen', and I demand the manufacturer to clarify what it is. "

A few weeks ago, a Beijing retiree wrote in his blog that he had suffered stomachaches and vomiting after eating the same product. "I had thought it was an allergy, until a friend from the beekeeping industry told me the product was 'special' because it consisted illegal ingredients," his posting read.

The posting was spread quickly among Chinese Internet users over the past weeks.

A spokeswoman with Wang's Bee Garden denied these claims. "It's impossible," she said. "Everybody knows poppy and all poppy products are banned on the market."

Though the plant is grown in certain regions for pharmaceutical purposes, she said the cost would have been too high for her company if the accusations were true. "Our bee pollen is sold for 46 yuan per package. Had it contained poppy contents, we'd have been broke down long before."

Yet suspicions over the company's products have gone beyond the confines of the Chinese capital.

A woman in Chengdu, who felt sick and sleepy after taking the same bee pollen, is also ready to sue the company.

The Chengdu Commercial Daily reported that the woman's friend in Beijing had sent the product to the national research center for stimulants and athletic nutrition, where researchers found morphine and codein through lab tests.

It said most supermarkets in Chengdu have taken the suspected bee pollen off their shelves…

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