The Tianjin plants labelled their products with mainstream brands including Maggi, Knorr, and Nestle

50 factories in China have been allegedly manufacturing fake food and seasoning sauces near the city of Tianjin.

According to Beijing News, ingredients unfit for human consumption such as industrial salt, were used in seasonings including soy sauce and vinegar.

The products were labelled with familiar mainstream brands including Maggi, Knorr, and Nestle. Consumers use the seasoning for Chinese cooking.

The China Food and Drug Adnimistration (CFDA) issued a statement saying that officers were sent to Tianjin to investigate the claims.

“About 100mn yuan ($14.5m, £12m) worth of the fake products are produced each year in the little town of Duliu in the Jinghai area of Tianjin,” the South China Morning Post said citing the original report.

The report added that dozens of small factories in residential areas had developed for more than 10 years. A worker claimed that a bottle of fake Knorr spicy sauce sells for 3.30 yuan whilst the authentic product sells for 20.50 yuan.

It is estimated that the factories were producing up to 100m yuan of fake seasoning per year.

“Shouldn’t the CFDA be the one that is punished? A whole village has been faking products for so many years. Can we still trust this department?” one commenter on the CFDA’s Weibo page said.

“How many people have been poisoned by these fake products? Seasoning impacts so many lives, this is no game!” questioned another user.

The CFDA have said it would “thoroughly rectify the problem of fake food seasoning production, and present the results of our investigation to the public in a timely fashion”.