A mainland woman surnamed Li was shocked to see the honey mandarins she bought from the market turn pink after washing them.
Li, who lives in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, said she washed the orange mandarins because her hands felt sticky after touching them, Apple Daily reported.
She recalled the white plastic bag she was given to carry the citrus fruits also turned pink, although she did not pay much attention to it earlier.
She suspected a colorant was used to make the oranges look fresh and attractive, and now she is worried whether the fruits are safe for consumption.
Li bought the mandarins from a man and a woman at the price of 4 yuan (62 US cents) per kilogram, which is slightly more expensive than the unwaxed ones, 3 yuan per kilogram, sold at another fruit stall nearby.
The man told her not to worry once the fruit turned pink after washing because they were waxed, which he said is a normal handling procedure for honey mandarins.
An expert at a certification center of the Northwest A&F University in the province said it is permissible to wax fruits as doing so can prevent water loss, but dyeing is not allowed.
Buyers can tell if colorant has been applied on mandarins through two simple ways: Check if the tiny holes on the peels are red, or wipe the skin of the fruit with a tissue to see if it is tainted.
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