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South China consumer goods sub-standard: report

world Updated: Jun 30, 2009 10:14 IST

Less than half of consumer products on sale in south China are safe, according to a survey quoted by state media Tuesday.

The government survey was carried out between April and June in Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, and covered 202 items, including tissues, beverages and women's sanitary products, the China Daily reported.

Only 49 per cent met the government's basic hygiene standards while the rest were substandard or even "dangerous to consumers' health," the paper said, citing Guangdong's bureau of industry and commerce.

Only a third of the bottled water brands sampled met quality standards, down from more than 90 per cent a year ago, according to the paper.

However, Guangdong authorities decided not to make public the list of products deemed to be substandard, saying "it is not the right time" to disclose the names of the problem companies.

The decision triggered anger among local consumers, who were worried they might continue using unsafe products, the paper said.

"What's the point of telling us some products we are consuming are harmful without telling us which ones?" asked Huang Chunhong, a local businessman.

Product safety has been a growing concern among Chinese consumers, especially after a scandal erupted in 2008 over baby milk formula.

At least six babies died and nearly 300,000 fell ill after they consumed milk powder contaminated by the industrial chemical melamine, which was mixed in to give the appearance of a higher protein content.