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One answer to toxic food fears in China

Posting in Food

The fear among Chinese of biting into a toxic-laden morsel has created a potentially huge market for food safety products in the country.

China has had a long list of food safety scandals in recent years, including the 2008 melamine milk contamination incident that killed six children and sickened some 300,000 more. The weekly reports of toxic bean sprouts, milk containing leather-hydrolyzed protein, aluminum-tainted dumplings and cadmium-laced rice is enough to make anyone wary of what they're eating.

Now, scientists at the Tianjin University of Science and Technology are working on an at-home food testing indicator paper. The test paper, which expected to hit the Chinese market soon, can help consumers determine if their food is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and excessive amounts of drug residue by identifying more than 60 varieties of chemicals, reported China's official Xinhua news agency.

Food safety testing usually involves complex machines and procedures conducted in laboratories. This test paper can identify harmful substances in a few minutes, Wang Shuo, deputy principal of the university told Xinhua.

The price of the test paper wasn't disclosed. However, the research team has secured 13 national patents and is working to lower the production cost of the paper to make it more affordable.

Photo: Flickr

— By on February 14, 2013, 12:40 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure