SW China hot pot restaurants required to disclose additive info amid illegal additive crackdown

Restaurants in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality will now be required to disclose detailed information about the additives they use in their hot pot dishes, as part of a move by the government to crack down on the use of illegal additives.

Although many restaurants say that their hot pot recipes are “commercial secrets,” a circular has been issued requiring hot pot restaurants to disclose information concerning the amount and usage of food additives to their customers by the end of this month, said Ma Lin, deputy chief of the municipality’s food and drug supervisory management bureau.

The circular was issued after the central government initiated a crackdown on the illegal use of food additives last month, with new regulations that have intensified supervision and increased penalties for violators.

Chongqing is known throughout China for its unique style of hot pot, which is a popular method of serving food in China. Statistics show that more than 10,000 hot pot restaurants in Chongqing have branches in other Chinese cities, as well as some overseas branches.

Hot pot consists of a simmering metal pot placed at the customer’s table, where the customer may cook a variety of meat and vegetables to their liking. Additives to give the hot pot a more appealing appearance and flavor are often included in the meal.

Ma said that customers will have a “clearer view” of the additives being used in their dishes with the new regulations. Restaurants using illegal additives such as formalin will face penalties, Ma said.

Other provinces have also created new measures to crack down on the illegal use of additives.

In east China’s Jiangsu Province, restauranteurs who wish to purchase additives must register their purchases under their real names. In Shaanxi Province, the provincial government has urged the public to help the government locate and identify restaurants that have been using illegal additives.

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