(Yicai Global) Aug. 17 -- The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) released a new list of non-conforming food products found during sample inspections on August 15. They discovered that Anhui Three Squirrels Electronic Commerce Co.'s pistachios contained 180 percent more mold than national standards allow. The company said the main cause of the excessive levels of mold was improper control of storage and transportation conditions after products left its factory.
The CFDA's Announcement of Three Batches of Non-Conforming Products said the regulator carried out sample inspections on 449 batches of samples of food from seven categories (including cookies, sugars and candies). The results show that 446 products conformed to standards and three did not. Three Squirrels' pistachios, which are on sale on Tmall Supermarket, had 70 colony-forming units per gram (CFU/g) of mold. The state allows a maximum of 25 CFU/g.
Three Squirrels followed the instructions of local food and drug regulators to address the issue by proactively recalling non-conforming pistachios, both on shelves and in inventory. Three Squirrels said on its official Weibo account that it will reconfirm vehicular transportation requirements with logistics firms and improve temperature and humidity regulation in storage. It apologized for the excessive mold levels.
"Three Squirrels' entire industry chain is incomplete," Zhu Danpeng, a researcher for the food and beverage industry at China Brand Research Institute, told the Changjiang Times. "It does not have its own factory, and most of the ingredients it uses are from small and medium-sized workshops and some processing sites."
Poor control of product storage and transportation conditions or contaminated ingredients likely led to the excessive mold, the CFDA said. Mold can cause food to go bad and affect its color, smell, and taste.