BEIJING, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Authorities in China allegedly covered up the discovery of cancer-causing chemicals in cooking oil for five months, an Internet watchdog site said.
Food safety monitors in Hunan province reportedly found high levels of the carcinogen benzoapyrene in 42 tons of Camellia oil used for cooking in China but suppressed the news to maintain social stability, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported.
An Internet blogging site leaked word of the coverup two weeks ago, the newspaper said.
The Hunan Jinhao Camellia Oil Corp. initially dismissed the claims as rumors but backed down in the face of mounting media pressure and admitted a batch of its oil had been contaminated.
In a statement on its Web site, the company admitted it “did not inform the public about the substandard products in time and did not inform people thoroughly about the recall process.”
Hunan authorities have seized 22 tons of the oil manufactured between March and April, and 11 tons have been recalled from markets, but 9 tons remain in circulation, the Beijing News reported.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.