TAIYUAN, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Shanxi provincial vinegar business association has refuted the claim that "Shanxi aged vinegar" was blended with cheap acid, an allegation that put consumers back on edge after a string of food safety scandals.
The disputes occurred after Wang Jianzhong, former vice chairman of the association, was reported to have said that 95 percent of "aged vinegar" made in north China's Shanxi Province was blended with glacial acetic acid, an additive that reduces the fermenting time from over one year to just one month.
Wang was reportedly blasted by the association for making the personal remark.
The Shanxi vinegar business association rebutted Wang's allegation with an official notice that said "all Shanxi aged vinegar is entirely brewed from grains, and none is blended with industrial acid."
The number "95 percent" was groundless as the eight largest companies brewed over 70 percent of vinegar in Shanxi, and none of them blended their products with industrial acid, said Cao Wenjie, chairman of Shanxi vinegar business association.
"We guarantee that our vinegar is 100 percent grain-brewed. We would like to open the plants to the public," said Wu Zhengxing, president of Shanxi Shuita Group, a vinegar giant in the province.
As for the accusation that "Shanxi aged vinegar" has preservatives, Cao responded that certain amounts of preservatives, between 0.06 to 0.1 percent, was allowed by the national standard for vinegar production and was "not harmful to human health."
About 94 percent of Shanxi vinegar met the standard, according to the latest examination of Shanxi Province Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision, the province's goods quality watchdog.
Shanxi food quality inspection center issued a notice on Saturday, saying "Shanxi aged vinegar" was safe and void of additive abuse.
Wang Jianzhong, who has been expelled from the association for his "irresponsible speech," said his words were misinterpreted. He meant to say over 95 percent of "Shanxi aged vinegar" had additives, which were legal to use.
Shanxi Province brews 600,000 tonnes of vinegar each year, or one fifth of the national output.