Inspectors have discovered an illegal plant hormone in daily shipments of as many as 20 tons of bean sprouts being sold for human consumption in Beijing, Hebei and Shandong provinces, The New York Times reported, citing local media. The sprouts contained high levels of 6-benzyladenine, a plant hormone used to speed up the growth cycle but which can also cause premature puberty, disrupt the menstrual cycle and contribute to osteoporosis in humans. The spot check was performed on November 2, and the production site on the outskirts of the capital has since been shut down, according to The Beijing Times.
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