Chinese cookware maker Supor refutes quality accusations

SHNAGHAI - Chinese cookware maker Zhejiang Supor Co Ltd, controlled by French home appliance company Groupe SEB, said on Saturday that its products are safe, refuting media reports that its pans could cause health problems.

On Thursday, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said in a report that some of Supor's cookware products contained an excessive amount of manganese -- a chemical element which, if taken in large amounts, can cause neurological damage to humans.

Supor said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that all of its stainless steel cookware products have met China's safety standards.

It added that although most countries, including China, had not set standards related to the amount of manganese in pots and pans, Supor has had its products tested and certified as safe by the standards of Italy, which it said was the only developed country that has published manganese-related standards.

"Our company will continue to strengthen quality management, and will continue to provide high quality," Supor said.

Supor, China's biggest cookware maker, makes products ranging from frying pans to rice cookers, and is majority-owned by SEB, which owns brands such as Tefal and Moulinex.

Trading in Supor shares, which was suspended on Friday in response to the media report, will resume next week, the company said.

Its shares closed at 15.68 yuan ($2.49) on Thursday before the suspension, down 6.1 per cent so far this year.

China's food industry has been beset by a series of scandals over quality, including carcinogenic and other disease-causing ingredients found in milk and other foods, which have eroded consumers' confidence.