Lye, boric acid banned as food additives in China

BEIJING (AP) -- China has released a list of illegal food additives, including substances commonly used as industrial dyes, insecticides and drain cleaners.

It's part of the monthslong government crackdown aimed at improving the country's shoddy food safety record. The crackdown was prompted by a scandal over melamine-tainted infant formula. It likely killed six babies and sickened 294,000 others earlier this year.

Among the 17 banned substances is boric acid, commonly used as an insecticide, which is mixed with noodles and meatballs to increase elasticity.

Also forbidden are industrial formaldehyde and lye, used in making soap and drain cleaner and added to water used to soak some types of dried seafood to make the products appear fresher and bigger.

The list of banned substances was released by a government committee.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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