PVC Food Wrap Has Caught Chinese Government's Attention

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Concern about the widespread use of carcinogenic polyvinylchloride (PVC) food wrap in Chinese supermarkets has caught the attention of both the media and the Chinese government in recent weeks. While most food wraps sold for home use in China are made of safer alternatives, PVC plastic is still used to seal vegetables, fruits, meat, and other cooked food in supermarkets nationwide.

PVC food wrap has been banned in many places, including the United States, European Union, Japan, Korea, and Singapore, because it contains toxic substances that can enter the human body and lead to breast cancer, birth defects, male reproductive disorders, and even mental illness. However, Japan and Korea continue to supply the Chinese market with the toxic wrap, with three imported brands—LG, Mitsubishi, and Sunlong—accounting for 80 percent of domestic demand, according to First Finance and Economic Daily.

China’s national standard for PVC food wrap was last issued in 1988, and no new regulation banning the product has been adopted since. The Chinese Communist Party has urged the National Bureau of Quality Inspection, Supervision, and Quarantine to tackle the problem as soon as possible, and CCTV News reported yesterday that the Bureau would work with experts to establish new national PVC standards shortly. In the meantime, Business Administration and Quality Inspection Departments in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong have started nationwide spot checks for use of PVC wrap in marketplaces and supermarkets. Results of the inspections will be announced to the public early next week.