Plasticizer scandals dull French cognac luster

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-3 23:43:01

Containers of three French cognac brands were recently blocked from entering China's market because they contained excessive levels of plasticizers, which are harmful to humans, the Shenzhen-based Securities Times reported over the weekend, citing French media.

It is the first time that plasticizer scandals have hit imported alcohol in the Chinese media, after many domestic liquor brands suffered hugely from similar scandals late last year.

Containers carrying three cognac brands - Camus, Frapin and Remy Martin - have been stalled at the Port of Shenzhen by Chinese customs, the paper said, noting that the blockage will have a significant impact on French cognac's reputation in China, the world's largest cognac market by value.

From February 1, all distributors of imported distilled liquor were required to submit a third-party plasticizer test report for each batch of imports.

The excessive plasticizer levels are mainly due to plastic transmission lines which contaminated the brandy because it is a highly erosive liquor, similar to what had happened with the Chinese liquor brands that were caught in the plasticizer scandal of November 2012, the paper reported.

In November, plasticizers were found in several domestic liquor brands including Jiuguijiu and Kweichow Moutai, causing shares to tumble and leading to falling sales of the affected brands.

Phthalates, components of plasticizers, are banned in toys and food packaging in Europe.

France currently exports 22.6 million bottles of brandy to China annually, and another 80 percent of the 30 million bottles exported to Singapore will eventually be resold to China, the French journal Charent Libre reported February 27.

Global Times


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