Police raided a massive fake salt factory worth ¥20 million across northern parts of China, confiscating a large volume of counterfeit salt and arresting 22 people.
According to a statement published by the police on Thursday, the raid was carried out in April in Jiangsu and Beijing. The suspects were found to have been labeling industrial salt as “Beijing Salt with Iodine” and selling it in the markets as table salt.
Police said the group had sold more than 20,000 tonnes of the fake products in Beijing, Tianjin and five other provinces in northern China over a few years.
Authorities tested different salt samples sold in the market last November. They began investigating the case after they found the sample to contain zero content of iodine. They were able to confirm the salt as industrial salt after they discovered nitrite content in the sample.
They added the suspects bought a large volume of industrial salt, and then divide the salt into smaller bags with the fake label for sale. The group then reportedly distributed the products in Beijing and also smaller enterprises by hiding them inside trucks. They have reportedly earned more than ¥20 million by selling the fake products.
Industrial salt differs from table salt for its lack of iodine content. Iodine is a mineral required by human beings for carrying out metabolism, which is a biological process of breaking down food into energy for our daily use. Iodine deficiency can cause poor memory or damage to the nervous system.
This incident raises concerns again over food safety in China. On June 23, Chinese authorities recalled seven batches of goat’s milk after they were found to be failing safety tests.