There have been calls in Taiwan for an investigation into the brewing process of Chinese beers, following claims in a Taiwan newspaper that many brewers use the chemical methanol in the production of their brands.

The fears follow claims in the Liberty Times by Shenzhen-based Jinwei Beer Co that it is the first Chinese brewery to not use methanol. Methanol is a cancer-causing substance. It is a colourless, toxic, flammable liquid that can be used as an antifreeze, a general solvent, a fuel or a denaturant for ethyl alcohol.

However, Tsingtao, the China's largest brewer has strongly denied that it uses methanol at all.

"Tsingtao has not added methanol to its beer for many decades," Peter Tsai, deputy general manager of the company that distributes Tsingtao in Taiwan, the Taiwan Tsing Beer Corp.

Tsingtao has called Jinwei's claim simply outrageous.

But Taiwan's Consumers` Foundation is still urging the government to conduct an overall inspection on all beer brands imported from China.