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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 15:16 GMT
China firm cans toxic tinned meat
Ma Ling luncheon meat ( image courtesy of Hong Kong government website)
Nitrofurans were found in tins of Ma Ling luncheon meat
One of China's best-known food companies has halted exports of all tinned food, after toxic chemicals were found in canned meat products.

Food safety officials in Hong Kong have discovered a banned antibiotic, nitrofurans, in tins of Maling brand pork luncheon meat and pork ribs.

It is the latest scare over the safety of Chinese exports.

This year there have been massive recalls of toys, tyres and food products from the American market.

The government in Beijing has come under increasing pressure to regulate the safety of Chinese-made products, following international concern.

Dream Puppy House with affected dog circled. Copyright: Mattel
There have been many safety recalls of Chinese goods this year
This year the American toy giant Mattel withdrew millions of Chinese-made toys due to fears over lead paint and other hazards, although the company later admitted many recalls were due to its own faulty designs.

Another popular toy was taken off the shelf after it was found to be coated with the date rape drug GHB. There have also been withdrawals of contaminated pet food which killed animals across North America.

The Chinese authorities have announced a series of measures aimed at tightening up product safety. They want to introduce a product recall system similar to those in Europe or the United States.

They want to protect the reputation not just of famous Chinese brands, but of the "Made in China" label generally.

But analysts say it is going to take concerted effort to prevent unscrupulous businessmen cutting corners, in China's prevailing get-rich-quick culture.

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