Some manufacturers’ bright red wolfberry is smoked with sulfur

The artificially made-up bright red wolfberry is smoked with sulfur, which can damage the liver and kidney after long-term consumption. Since this newspaper worked with CCTV’s “Is it Real” column to survey and sample the largest Chinese herbal medicine distribution center in the country, and the test results were not qualified, readers of Qianbao have called the editorial department of this newspaper: the safety of goji berries in the Hangzhou market ?

goji smoked with sulfur

In this issue, the People’s Livelihood Laboratory targeted the wolfberry on the Hangzhou market. After two inspections by the Forest Product Quality Inspection Center of the State Forestry Administration, the result was: out of 5 randomly selected samples, 2 samples exceeded the standard for sulfur dioxide.

   Repeat detection

   2 batches of wolfberry sulfur dioxide exceeded the standard

goji smoked with sulfur
The one on the right is smoked with sulfur

There are many uses of wolfberry, the medicine and food are the same, so there are many ways to buy it. Enthusiastic readers who call this newspaper say that their own goji berries are generally bought from pharmacies, supermarkets and markets, so this newspaper also chose these three common channels for sampling.

The reporter visited pharmacies, supermarkets, and food wholesale markets one after another and found that almost all the “hometowns” of wolfberry are in Ningxia. However, although goji berries are “grown from the same root”, the price is far different. The retail price of goji berries in bulk is 180~190 yuan/jin in pharmacies, and the price of goji berries in simple packaging in supermarkets is about 150-170 yuan/jin. The price is the lowest, the price is around 130 yuan/jin.

The reporter purchased 5 batches of wolfberry as test samples from Zhejiang Food Wholesale Market, Lianhua Supermarket (Qingjiang Store), Tesco Supermarket (Xiaoshan Store), and Fanghuichuntang. From the outside, the wolfberry fruits in the drugstore are uniform in size, bright in color, and feel a bit sticky to the touch; second in the supermarket, the fruits are uneven in size, some are relatively dry; the fruits in the market are small, but the color is very positive, and relatively dry .

Regarding the limited standard of wolfberry, there are currently many versions:

  1. The sulfite residues (calculated as sulfur dioxide) in medicinal materials and decoction pieces (except minerals) to be promulgated by the National Pharmacopoeia Commission shall not exceed the limit of 150 mg/kg. The current similar standard in South Korea is less than 30 mg/kg.
  2. Food standards. Wolfberry has the same medicine and food. For example, choose dried vegetables similar to medicinal materials. The national standard GB 2760 stipulates that the sulfur dioxide residue shall not exceed 200 mg/kg.
  3. Hangzhou recommended standards. In the absence of national standards for residue limits, Hangzhou recommends that the sulfur dioxide residues of traditional Chinese medicine decoction pieces should be less than 60 mg/kg to manufacturers of traditional Chinese medicine decoction pieces.

The test results of this report are based on the current GB/T18672-2002 “National Standard: Lycium barbarum”, GB/T19742-2008 “Geographical Indication Product: Ningxia Lycium barbarum” and other relevant national regulations. The sulfur dioxide content in wolfberry shall not exceed 50 mg/kg. standard.

In the testing process, in addition to detecting whether the wolfberry has sulfur dioxide exceeding the standard due to sulfur smoking, the People’s Livelihood Laboratory of this newspaper also added 5 common pesticide residues and the content of mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic. Except for two samples whose sulfur dioxide exceeded the standard, the remaining samples and other test items were all qualified.

After the first test data was released, the testers repeatedly compared the two samples that exceeded the standard, and retested it again. The last two test results were consistent.

  A semi-open secret in the industry

   Almost all medicinal materials are “sweetened”

The two samples of wolfberry with sulfur dioxide exceeding the standard were all from Zhejiang Food Wholesale Market and distributed in two different stalls.

After the test results came out, the reporter went to the food market where the samples were taken again. Goji berries are sold at some stalls selling dried fruits and spices. Many merchants emphasized that all they sell are authentic Ningxia wolfberry, and there is absolutely no “make-up”.

“Ensure that it has not been dyed or smoked with sulfur.” ​​The owner of one of the stall owners who was sampled by the reporter told the reporter that their goods were purchased from the Liangzhu wholesale market. As for the channel to go up, it is estimated that the place of production. Her goji berries sell pretty well, they are all “used to supply restaurants,” and there are retail stores and small wholesale shops in the towns below.

When asked why the colors are brighter, the proprietress did not say much, but said that “the color will not fade.” “If you eat it yourself or give it away, it’s better to buy it.” The proprietress said. The wolfberry she recommended is a bit bigger and darker in color.

“Dry goods include the use of sulfur for medicinal materials. This is no secret.” A boss who has been engaged in medicinal materials wholesale for a long time revealed that the key is how you use and how much you use. The boss, who did not want to be named, said that some farmers used sulfur as soon as they picked the medicinal materials to sterilize and remove mites and make them convenient for storage. Some old medicinal materials can be refurbished by sprinkling with sulfur.

Sulfur fumigation is no secret in the traditional Chinese medicine industry, commonly known as “sulfur”. The method is very simple: just find a relatively closed place, place a shelf, put medicinal materials on it, and put a few pieces of sulphur underneath, ignite the sulphur, seal it with some leather paper, and smoke it overnight. There is also a simpler way. Open the plastic film containing the medicinal materials, just sprinkle a little sulfur powder on it, seal the film, and leave it overnight.

   Monitoring management is difficult

In recent years, the excessive use of sulfur fumigation in Chinese herbal medicines and Chinese herbal medicines has become a semi-open secret in the industry. Excessive sulfur is known as the “melamine” of traditional Chinese medicine.

In fact, the sulfur fumigation process has existed thousands of years ago, especially some Chinese medicinal materials with high sugar content and high water content. In order to prevent insects and moths, after picking, the growers will use sulfur fumigation, which is an easy The role of preservation.

Song Xufeng, deputy director of the Hangzhou Institute for Drug Control, said that traditional crafts have gradually changed in modern society. Because of price differences, many illegal vendors have turned to industrial sulfur. Excessive fumigation with industrial sulfur is to increase the weight of traditional Chinese medicine and obtain more profits. Another purpose is to dye traditional Chinese medicinal materials that have become mildew.

The wolfberry is purchased in two seasons a year, and the autumn harvest season is about to come. Unlike in the past, waiting for farmers to deliver goods, Hangzhou East China Traditional Chinese Medicine Decoction Pieces Co., Ltd. will soon send a special person to the Ningxia cooperative base to see the harvest and drying equipment.

“Sulfur fumigation is the fresh goji berry products that are processed as soon as they are purchased. Farmers have to eat according to the weather. If the weather is bad, they must use sulfur to beat them.” Yang Hongtao, the production quality factory director of the company, told reporters that this kind of retail operation is difficult to control. .

“According to the current technical conditions, sulfur is not indispensable.” Song Xufeng said that traditional sulfur fumigation has been completely replaced by sunburning and oven drying, but the cost will be higher.

In order to solve the problem of serious sulfur dioxide residues in traditional Chinese medicinal materials and their decoction pieces, which are severely fumigated by sulfur in the market, Hangzhou Food and Drug Administration took the lead in promoting the non-sulfurization of Chinese medicinal materials and decoction pieces, and special treatment of traditional Chinese medicine sulfur fumigation. The key monitored varieties include 26 varieties including Zhejiang Fritillaria, Angelica, Gastrodia, Chinese Yam, and Chinese wolfberry. East China Traditional Chinese Medicine Decoction Pieces is one of the pilot enterprises.

“The obstacle to the promotion of non-sulfurization is the difficulty of controlling the production area, the large investment in the early stage, and the difficult storage in the later stage.” Song Xufeng said.

Taking wolfberry as an example, an oven can easily cost hundreds of thousands, which is difficult for ordinary farmers to afford. The later storage and storage conditions are also harsher. For example, the non-sulfurized wolfberry likes to be stored in a cool place, the room temperature is within 20℃, while the previously sulfur-smoked wolfberry is within 30℃.

For more than three years, Hangzhou Chinese medicinal materials have had certain effects without vulcanization. In the first half of this year, Hangzhou Drug Inspection Institute supervised and commissioned 76 batches of Chinese medicinal materials (decocting pieces) for sulfur dioxide residues, involving 25 varieties, and 7 varieties exceeding the national limit with 7 batches. The total pass rate was 90.8%.

“Generally speaking, the Chinese medicinal materials that consumers buy in pharmacies and hospitals should be safe to eat.” As for supermarkets, markets, etc., there is no guarantee at this time.

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