Napkins sold by Swedish furniture giant IKEA have been identified as one of several substandard items sold in China and Hong Kong after undergoing tests by the Beijing Consumer Association, reports Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao.
The Fantastisk napkin made by IKEA and sold at its Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong outlets, were among the 14 items found to be substandard by the association out of 30 samples randomly selected from stores in more than 10 provinces and municipalities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Fujian and Guangdong.
The association also found that 12 of 35 brands of toilet paper tested failed to meet national quality standards.
Fantastisk napkins, in particular, were found to be lacking in tensile strength and had excessive moisture content, meaning that they easily fell apart and stuck to the skin while being used, especially in wet conditions.
A spokesperson for IKEA in Beijing said the napkins have already been removed from many of their stores since the results of the tests were released.
Several other major Chinese brands were also named in the report, such as Jierou napkins made by C&S Paper, also for their excessive moisture content, and Breeze napkins produced by the Gold HongYe Paper Group, which was found to have incorrect labeling. Napkins made by Guangdong-based Piaohe Paper, on the other hand, were found to be potentially harmful for containing excessive fungal colonies.
Zhang Qingwen, deputy director of the China National Pulp and Paper Research Institute, said paper napkins are made from cheaper pulp which costs only several thousand yuan per tonne and contains additives like calcium carbonate or talc to reduce costs.
Beijing Consumer Association spokesperson Luo Gang recommended against using toilet paper to wipe the hands, mouth or face, and advised taking extra precautions against toilet paper in small restaurants, which tend to purchase the cheapest brands available.