BEIJING -- China has warned its food producers to rid their products of illegal additives in a latest move to restore trust hurt by the recent tainted milk scandal.
The notice, published Monday by a joint investigation led by the Health Ministry, the State Food and Drug Administration, and another seven government departments, blacklisted 17 nonfood substances that could be added to food production.
Illegal chemicals from past domestic food scares were among those targeted, including cancer-causing industrial dye sudan red used to color egg yolks, and melamine found in baby formula that was originally intended for use in the production of plastics
The blacklisted substances also included carbon monoxide, industrial methanol, and opium poppy capsules, a plant from which opium can be extracted.
The notice also warned food producers against the overuse of ten additives including sodium cyclamate, an artificial sweetener used in baking and pickling that has been lined to cancer, and nitrite used as a color additive in meat products.
The blacklist is part of a four-month, nationwide investigation launched earlier this month to find illegal additives in food.
The investigation will target protein-rich foods, such as processed meat, dairy products and sauces, earlier reports said.
Products would be taken from supermarket shelves and tested for illegal or overused additives.
The investigation will focus on products made by small food factories as they are often under-supervised and do not have a self-discipline system. Among China's 500,000 food-processing firms, 70 percent employee less than ten employees.