Chinese food-safety officials have ordered two fruit juice companies to suspend operations and help with an investigation into reports that they used rotten or unripe fruit in their products. A Reuters news article published Sept. 23 reported that the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) inspected Anhui Dangshan Haisheng Fruit Juice, a subsidiary of Shaanxi Haisheng Fresh Fruit Juice, and Wanbei Fruit Juice, of the Beijing Huiyuan Group. Inspectors have not found any rotten fruit at the company plants. according to an agency statement. The Huiyuan Group reportedly denied using any rotten fruit and noted that all its stock was checked and production was in accordance with national standards. Another story published Wednesday in the South China Morning Post reported that two other area juice firms besides the ones CFDA inspected had allegedly used rotten and substandard pears and apples from local farmers. They were named as a branch of Yantai North Andre Juice in Jiangsu province and a branch of Beijing Huiyuan in Shandong province.

Dangshan County, in Anhui Province in Western China, is reportedly well-known for its pears. However, the area suffered a cold spell earlier this year and a tornado in July that damaged more than 40 percent of the fruit. The Chinese are taking food safety very seriously after recent scandals involving milk laced with industrial chemicals and recycled “gutter oil” for cooking left many consumers wary. A recent Pew Research report said almost four in 10 Chinese people felt that food safety was a “very big problem.”