BEIJING—Vinegar tainted with antifreeze is suspected of killing 11 people and sickening more than 120 in China's far western region of Xinjiang who consumed foods prepared with the vinegar during a communal Ramadan feast on Aug. 20 following a day of fasting.
According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, officials believe the victims consumed vinegar that was stored in two plastic barrels that had once contained antifreeze. All the victims were ethnic Muslims; children as young as 6 years old were among the dead.
While this instance seems to be a tragic accident, China has been rocked by food safety scandals over the past few years, most of which involved the addition of dangerous additives to foods to lower production costs and increase livestock’s muscle mass. In 2008, China’s dairy industry was nearly destroyed after melamine-tainted dairy that sickened more than 300,000 people and killed at least six children.
In 2010, China established the Food Safety Commission (FSC) to analyze the food-safety situation, guide and coordinate food-safety work, make food-safety policies, and urge relevant departments to fulfill their responsibilities in food supervision.