China Recalls Bird's Nests
A Chinese traditional medicine retailer has pulled all stocks of edible bird’s nests – a delicacy in China, usually imported from Malaysia – after excessive amounts of chemical nitrite were found in a shipment from the Southeast Asian nation. The sales ban became effective at all Tongrentang stores in China and abroad on Aug. 17, a day after State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the market watchdog, demanded that retailers tighten quality inspection of bird's nests, the company said in a statement Sunday. Spot checks on the rare blood-red bird's nests from 491 dealers in Zhejiang found an average 4,400 mg of sodium nitrite per kg, far above the allowed cap of 70 mg per kg.
The Malaysian government later clarified that the problematic products were fake and were not endorsed by its food safety departments.
Bird’s nests are a hugely popular if expensive delicacy in China. The best known are swiftlet’s nests, which they build from their own saliva in Malaysia – these are then hardened and eaten.